It says a lot that a 75-year-old film showing on only 300+ screens can break into the box office’s weekly Top Ten movies. But when the film is The Wizard of Oz–arguably the most beloved Hollywood film of all time– the lure of IMAX and 3D proved too great. The Wizard of Oz is a film that seemingly everyone has seen a million times–from the initial childhood terrors of watching the flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch, to reliving the film as an adult, while watching the next generation discover the film for the first time. 75 years later, not only does the film look better than ever, but our ability to enjoy high-quality images at home is also unprecedented.
Warner Bros. is celebrating the 75th anniversary with a 3D remastered Blu-ray edition of the film. If you’ve got the 3D equipment, it is worth the investment. Even if you don’t, you can get the 2-disc edition, which includes the 3D version, and the beautifully remastered Blu-ray 2D edition from 2009. Oz collectors may have seen many of the extras before, including actor portraits narrated by Angela Lansbury, a variety of original trailers, full radio shows from the era of the original release, sing-alongs, a “storybook” will classic illustrations (also narrated by Lansbury), and stills from the film production.
New to this releae is a feature length doc (at just over an hour long) narrated by Martin Sheen, about the story’s history, from conception by L. Frank Baum, to the movie’s production (with many mishaps, including a bevy of directors, and accidents and incidents that felled various cast members), to the enduring legacy. I couldn’t help but coo with nostalgia when Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini showed up on screen chatting about her memories. (Pellegrini was one of the last surviving Munchkins, and just passed away in August 2013.) I don’t know about you, but I love these reflective looks at classic films: one moment your heart breaks to see a snippet of an interview with Judy Garland in 1967, only to be replaced by laughter at images of Ray Bolger’s rubber-legged dancing from some of his lesser known films and performances.
I’m sure that The Wizard of Oz will be re-released ad infinitum to the home video market, until it is chipped directly into our collective psyches. But the thing is, it is already part of our collective American psyche. But as long as our home theaters keep advancing in quality, we may as well keep up with films that are worthy of such movie-going immersion, and The Wizard of Oz is definitely one of those classics that simply never gets old.
The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collectors Edition is available on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and Ultra-Violet on October 1st, 2013.
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