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'Wizard of Oz' to Debut on Blu-ray Disc for 70th Birthday

9 Jun, 2009 By: Stephanie Prange

Warner Home Video Sept. 29 will release the MGM classic The Wizard of Oz for the first time on Blu-ray Disc.

The 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition contains nearly four hours of never-before-available bonus features and comes in numbered collectible packaging for a limited time only at $84.99 on Blu-ray (DVD $69.92); each ultimate edition includes a digital copy of the film. The title is also available in a two-disc special edition DVD at $24.98 with fewer extras.

Ron Sanders, president of Warner Home Video, said preorders for the Blu-ray version of the set are so far outpacing those for the DVD.

“We put so much into both the special edition DVD and the Blu-ray,” he said June 9 at a Los Angeles event celebrating the announcement. “The Blu-ray looks amazing. We’ve got a picture we’ve never been able to get before.”

The film has been entirely remastered for the high-definition format. Each of the original Technicolor camera negatives was scanned using 8K resolution. From this scan, a final 'capture' master was created in 4K, giving the Blu-ray twice the resolution of the master for the film's previous DVD release. The Blu-ray also features Dolby TrueHD audio.

Included exclusively on the Blu-ray is the original extended version of "If I Only Had a Brain," performed by Ray Bolger and remastered in high-definition, and the documentary MGM: When the Lion Roars.

Warner kicked off the release June 9 with a "Yellow Carpet" gala party and Ruby Slipper Collection exhibit at Los Angeles’ Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, complete with a seven-story hot-air balloon that will tour America in the months before the discs’ debut. High-end fashion designers re-interpreted the famous slippers for the exhibit.

“Blu-ray is almost like being there, without the pain of trying to find a place to park,” comedian George Lopez said at the event. “Really though, the Blu-ray picture makes you feel like part of the film. The technology is unbelievable.”

“Entourage” actress Debi Mazer said watching Oz on Blu-ray “will be mind-blowing.”

“The way it’s shot, the costumes, the colors,” she said. “And I’ll still cry when Dorothy sings ‘Over the Rainbow.’”

Other new-to-disc ultimate edition extras include The Dreamer of Oz, a remastered, biographical 1990 TV movie about Oz author L. Frank Baum on disc for the first time, starring John Ritter, Annette O’Toole and Rue McClanahan; Victor Fleming, Master Craftsman, a feature-length documentary produced specifically for this release about the Hollywood director who, in the same year, brought both Oz and Gone With the Wind to the screen; Hollywood Celebrates It’s Biggest Little Stars, a new featurette that stars seven of the original Munchkins and tells their story, culminating in them receiving their own Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; The Magic Cloak of Oz, the first video release of the complete 1914 silent film (produced by Baum), including lost footage; The Patchwork Girl of Oz, another 1914 Baum-produced, feature-length silent film; a sing-along track; reproductions of archival material, including renderings of the 1939 campaign; Behind the Curtain, a 52-page miniature coffee-table book, assembled by pre-eminent Oz historian John Fricke; and an exclusive, numbered Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary watch created specifically for the release.


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