The Wizard of Oz: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital
(Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, et al / 2-Disc + Blu-ray + Digital / NR / (1939) 2019 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the always-retro-brilliant-to-watch 'The Wizard of Oz' in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this October 29th, 2019.
For my money, this 'The Wizard of Oz: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is 'The Wizard of Oz' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10+ and Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like all the magical scenes in Oz where Dorothy encounters her soon-to-be new friends; whilst also encountering the noticeably now richer colors of her foes too! It just all comes more vividly to life now, which is amazing to see, in truth.
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably the scenes where the main colors such as the green of the Emerald City, the red of her ruby shoes and the yellow of the brick road), as those scenes have now become alive, crystal clear and sparklingly brilliant - even containing a kind of honeyed amber appearance at their tips. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.
As for the audio, well we have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, well, as I think we can all agree on here today, 'The Wizard of Oz' is probably one of the greatest movies ever made.
It's full of life, energy and heart and this alone is probably what defines the term "movie magic."
There are so many classic moments here, after all this movie is still heavily quoted in pop-culture, 75 years after it was first released!
The story is basically about a girl who longs for somewhere over the rainbow, and then gets what she wants ... or is it really what she wants?
"And you, and you, and you were there." All of Dorothy's friends look at her as if she was crazy, assuring her that her adventure was just a dream.
Was it really just a dream? How could it be, when it seemed so real? In Viktor Fleming's, 'The Wizard of Oz,' dream is made into reality and reality into dream.
'The Wizard of Oz' is a classical masterpiece in which breathtaking design, performance and a heart-warming storyline combine to create a movie in its very own category.
In Kansas, a twister hits Dorothy's home and she is hit by a window, falling into her dreamland of Oz. We follow Dorothy (Judy Garland) on her quest for the Wizard of Oz, in the land of munchkins, evil and good witches, and many more interesting characters.
The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), and Tin Man (Jack Haley) are just some of the friends, with their own problems, that she meets on her way.
The story is all about "following the yellow brick road" as "we're off to see the wizard."
The screenplay was adapted from Frank T. Baum's story chronicle, The Wizard of Oz. It was produced by Mervyn Leroy and acted out by a first class list of actors.
Perhaps the most important factors of this movie are the Technicolor (this is the first movie in color), the songs (that you'll never forget and never get enough of), and the ubiquitous theme/moral of "there's no place like home."
The plot is very easy to follow and straightforward. Despite the seemingly unrealistic storyline of wizards, a land of munchkins, flying monkeys, and bad witches flying on broomsticks, viewers can't help but fall into the fantasy of it all and imagine there really is such a place "somewhere over the rainbow."
The characters are all believable and you seem able to relate to them and know at least one person in your life like them. People love the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion for their loyalty and personal quirks, and loathe the Wicked Witch of the West for being so sinfully evil.
The dialogue is also very amusing, with a deeper meaning than most would conceive at first. There are many hidden messages of friendship, loyalty, and seeing what's right in front of you all along.
The actors are very convincing as their characters, all seemingly to step right out from the original story. Judy Garland perhaps was the best choice for Dorothy because the viewer just can't help but fall in love and sympathize for her when they see those big brown eyes staring back at them from the screen.
She has a raw performance in which you can feel each emotion through her expression. From the moment Dorothy opens her front door after landing in Oz and exclaims "Oh!" the screen is filled with bright and vibrant color, a sharp contrast from the dull black and white from a second before.
The significance of this is not lost, as the use of color is artfully done throughout the movie. The Technicolor sets the film apart because it is the first picture to be in color.
During the movie the ever present yellow brick road takes the viewer through a journey of colorful and unique places, like the charming Munchkin Land and eerily spooky Haunted Forest.
This film is one that's timeless for a good reason. The acting is wonderful as is the set, themes, and dramatic aspects. 'The Wizard of Oz' was one of a kind when it first came out and 75 years later it still touches people's hearts.
The movie keeps the audience's interest and you walk away from it smiling. After watching the movie, it will give you a deeper respect for what you are and have. As Dorothy says, "There's no place like home," well, there's no movie like the Wizard of Oz either, trust me!
Directed by Victor Fleming ('Gone With the Wind'), Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has just released this acclaimed and beloved 1939 classic as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital (October 29th, 2019).
'The Wizard of Oz' received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and captured two Oscars® -- Best Song (“Over the Rainbow”) and Best Original Score -- plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Judy Garland.
The film was an overwhelmingly popular and critical success upon its initial release and repeated its ability to captivate audiences when MGM reissued the film in 1949 and 1955.
Using state of the art technology, a new 8K 16bit scan of the original Technicolor camera negative became the basis for the 4K UHD scan. The process was overseen by MPI colorist Janet Wilson, who has overseen every remaster of 'The Wizard of Oz' for the past 20 years.
Ultra HD showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.
This quite wondrous 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of 'The Wizard of Oz' features Dolby VisionTM HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen — frame by frame.
As for the slew of Special Features, the stand outs for me are both the Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren, and the quite stunning 1990 CBS Special “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic.”
Both, in their own sweet ways, highlight just how powerful a movie it was for both the actors and the general public. The former highlights the love and dedication shown within the making of the film via the commentary from Oz historian John Fricke and friends (especially Barbara Freed-Saltzman, the daughter of writer Arthur Freed), and the latter allows the film's Cast and Crew to gush via the 1990 CBS Special.
Also, in reflection, the series of mini featurettes We Haven’t Really Met Properly… is definitely a lovely way to find out more about the major role players here in Oz.
Finally, the quartet of: Special Effects, Post Production, Deleted Scenes and Original Publicity are pure and unadulterated delights to behold today as they showcase a world that was raw in its filmmaking and yet still managed to bring forth an incredible film that still barely has a naysayer amongst its critics/viewership.
Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Elements:
'The Wizard of Oz' Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:
• Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren.
• 1990 CBS Special “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic.”
'The Wizard of Oz' Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:
• Commentary- Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren
• The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook (narrated by Angela Lansbury)
• We Haven’t Really Met Properly…
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Frank Morgan"
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Ray Bolger"
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Bert Lahr"
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Jack Haley"
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Billie Burke"
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Margaret Hamilton"
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Charley Grapewin"
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Clara Blandick"
o We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Terry"
• Music & Effects Track
• Original Mono Track
• Sing Along Tracks
• Audio Jukebox
• Leo is on the Air Radio Promo
• Good News of 1939 Radio Show
• 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Broadcast
• Stills Galleries
o Oz on Broadway
o Sketches and Storyboards
o Richard Thorpe’s Oz
o Buddy Ebsen
o Oz Comes to Life
o Behind the Scenes
o Special Effects
o Post Production
o Deleted Scenes
o Original Publicity
o 8/15/1939 Hollywood Premiere
o 8/17/1939 New York Premiere
o 2/29/1940 Academy Awards® Ceremony
o Oz Abroad
o Oz Revivals
Original 'The Wizard of Oz' Trailer
'The Wizard of Oz' will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $41.99 SRP and features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc of 'The Wizard of Oz'.
Fans can also own The Wizard of Oz in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on October 29th, 2019.