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Off to See the Wizard ... Again

11 Jul, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

It won't get you to Kansas or on the yellow brick road, but Warner Home Video's Oct. 25 DVD releases of The Wizard of Oz Two-Disc Special Edition ($26.99) and The Wizard of Oz Three-Disc Collector's Edition ($39.92) offer up to five hours of new material about the 1939 classic film starring Judy Garland. The titles prebook Sept. 20.

The film was released on DVD first in 1997 without extras by MGM Home Entertainment, followed in 1999 by a Warner enhanced edition with bonus material (from a 1993 laserdisc release) honoring the film's 60th anniversary.

For the new collections, Warner restored The Wizard of Oz using its ultra-resolution restoration process, in which each frame of the original Technicolor film negative is realigned digitally for enhanced color, clarity and sharpness.

The third disc of the Collector's Edition features a documentary about Oz creator L. Frank Baum and five pre-1939 screen versions, including a 1925 silent edition starring Oliver Hardy as the Tin Man.

“It was natural to do Oz since it is the ultimate Technicolor film,” said George Feltenstein, SVP of classic catalog at Warner.

Both sets include commentary from Angela Lansbury, who was the original host of a documentary on Oz by Jack Haley Jr. in 1990 and narrates the extras in this edition.

The Collector's Edition includes reproductions of:

  • The 1939 Grauman's Chinese Theatre souvenir program;
  • The original Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer studio invitation;
  • A copy of MGM Studio News, the studio's newsletter celebrating the film's release;
  • A study guide; and
  • Copies of original Koda-chrome publicity stills.

  • “It is wild stuff,” Feltenstein said. “I am a big Oz fan, and this stuff I thought I would never get to see. The souvenir program … when I saw it, I got chills. It was so exciting.”

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