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The Wizard of Oz 4K Ultra HD (1939, 2019) - 4K Blu-ray Review

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The Wizard of Oz

It’s time to go back.

Clocking in at a breezy 109 minutes, The Wizard of Oz is one of the finest examples of fantasy escapism that we have in film history.  Let that soak in for a minute.  Perhaps things would have been different had WWII not been right around the corner, but fact is fact and that original release date says it all.

"Getting Dorothy back to Kansas is still a whole lot of fun to watch"


The classic film, selected in 1989 for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant, turns 80 years old this year and to celebrate that milestone, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment is going all out with a new 4K transfer that its ever-growing number of fans can pick up on October 29 this year.  And, let me tell you, this release is exquisite with a number of punched-up details and a new crispness to its many, many memorable images. 

The Wizard of Oz, directed in 1939 by Victor Fleming (Gone with the Wind) is a masterpiece.  Every single moment in this unique tale works to create a unique story that is as timeless and as imaginative as it sounds.  The story of a little girl lost and her dog named Toto gets a unique makeover thanks to the 4K image.  The tornado!  The scarecrow!  The Tin Man!  The Cowardly Lion!  The Wicked Witch!  The Flying Monkeys!  Adapted from L. Frank Baum's timeless children's tale, all these events and characters are made new again thanks to this release.

Staring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, Frank Morgan as The Wizard, Ray Bolger as Scarecrow, Bert Lahr as The Cowardly Lion, and Jack Haley as Tin Man, this charming tale begins with a twisting tornado as one 16-year-old girl finds herself on the hunt for her dog thanks to a neighbor’s threats of ending its life.  The dog runs away and after getting some advice from Professor Marvel (also Morgan), Dorothy decides to hightail it home, but the twister surging behind her has other ideas.

And when it hits, there isn’t nothing going to be the same for this 16-year-old Kansas girl. 

Produced by Mervyn LeRoy, and scored by Herbert Stothart, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, The Wizard of Oz begins in sepia tone and, once Dorothy and Toto land in the world of Oz – right on top of the Wicked Witch of the East – everything bursts onto the screen with the guts and glamor of bright colors and personified trees, scarecrows, flying monkeys, and munchkins!  Lions, tigers, and bears!  Oh, my!The Wizard of Oz

Except the Wicked Witch of the West (expertly played by Margaret Hamilton) is angry and wants Dorothy punished for the death of her sister.  She and her legions of faithful flying monkeys want her and the friends she meets along the way – the Scarecrow who needs a brain, the Tin Man who needs a heart, and the lion who needs some courage – on the Yellow Brick Road to meet the Wizard of Oz absolutely dead.  This includes her little dog, too. 

Getting Dorothy back to Kansas is still a whole lot of fun to watch.  This film is wildly imaginative and STILL, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, an event picture that invites all sorts of emotions.  Highly quotable and wondrous, The Wizard of Oz, especially in 4K, is not to be missed. And now, thanks to state of the art technology, Dorothy and Toto come home once again, this time in 4K!

Find your “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” once again thanks to this stellar release from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.

5/5 beers 

The Wizard of Oz

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

80th Anniversary Edition / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray
- October 29, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K Blu-ray: Region free; 2K Blu-ray: Region A

This week, Warner Bros Home Entertainment presents The Wizard of Oz with a brand-new 4K transfer of the original technicolor camera negative and the results are as incredible as you can expect.  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.

Video:

In a word: perfection. I cannot use enough adjectives to express how flawlessly beautiful this film looks in its native 4K scan. This is not hyperbole. Film grain is fine and intact, and adds detail to the picture - the likes you have never seen. Colors, especially with the HDR enhancements, are deeper and punchier than they ever were before in the land of Oz, without sacrificing the look of this near 80 year old film. The detail and depth of the picture cannot be overstated.

Audio:

The 4K Blu-ray disc of The Wizard of Oz features the DOLBY VISION 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.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See below

Special Features:

On top of the new 8K 16-bit scan of the original technicolor camera negative and the Dolby vision HDR presentation, fans get hours upon hours of supplemental items, including commentaries, the 1990 CBS Special, a bunch of interviews with the cast and the crew, and tons of look at the songs.  Of all the releases so far, this is the one to own. 

4K BLU-RAY 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."

BLU-RAY 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
  • The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook (narrated by Angela Lansbury)
  • We Haven't Really Met Properly Vignettes
  • Music & Effects Track
  • Original Mono Track
  • Sing Along Tracks
  • Audio Jukebox
  • Leo is on the Air
  • Radio Promo: Good News of 1939
  • Lux Radio Broadcast
  • Stills Galleries
  • Trailers

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars

The Wizard of Oz

MPAA Rating: G.
Runtime:
102 mins
Director
: Victor Fleming
Writer:
Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson
Cast:
Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
Genre
: Fantasy
Tagline:
The Greatest Picture in the History of Entertainment.
Memorable Movie Quote: "A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others."
Theatrical Distributor:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Official Site:
Release Date:
August, 1939
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 29, 2019
Synopsis: 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.

The Wizard of Oz

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