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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 March 2014
For some reason, the badly written book 'The Wizard of Oz', written in 1900 by L Frank Baum, was extremely popular for a long time. (I think it is pretty awful, but then I'm not a child). MGM decided there was money in a film based on the book and eventually, after many different attempts by many writers, the script was finalised, one reasonably faithful to the book. The film is beautifully written and directed and (I think) is far superior to the book and actually quite magical. The musical score underlines this magic and 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' won an Academy Award, as did Judy Garland. She was an inspired choice for the role. She had been brought up in Vaudeville and had been singing onstage from a small child. By this time, she had been paired with Mickey Rooney a few times in movies and was already a star, though still a teenager. She was only 4'11" tall, the ideal person to play a child younger than herself (she was 16 at the time) and she was already showing the magnetic stage presence which would keep her a star for the next 40 years.
The film opens with Dorothy largely ignored by her family, busy on their farm, and in trouble with a nasty neighbour, Miss Gulch, who has been bitten by Dorothy's little dog. Dorothy's grey world is echoed by the black and white filming. When a tornado sweeps her off to Oz, the film is in colour, reflecting the idea that she has now come to a colourful place where she can at last be fully alive. The Wizard, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion are all played by actors who played her father and the three farm hands, as if Dorothy has not really entered a different world but rather a different dimension of the world she knows.
The charm of the film never flags as the central characters learn life lessons and their illusions are dispelled, leaving them free to grow up. Like all great children's stories, it has great psychological truth and a simple, moral vision of life and truth. I don't mean to be pretentious - I love the fact that great children's literature and films tell the truth in this rather beautiful way. Anyway, one doesn't have to intellectualise about the film, just enjoy it and let it speak to the heart.
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on 25 April 2006
The Wizard Of Oz (1939) is now well over sixty years old, yet the classic film still stands extraordinarily well, reaching generation after generation (and has also become a firm T.V favourite at Christmas).

Its transistion to the DVD format is thoroughly impeccable making the whole land of Oz look even more enduringly beautiful, colourful and extravagant, even for its film age.

Theres no doubt that the sole ingredients of this timeless classic was from the all-round excellent playing from the cast, the spectacular, eye-catching sets such as the dazzling Emerald City at the end of the yellow brick road to the wonderful dancing and fun, jolly, infectious songs. That yearning vulnreability that exists in us all somewhere is what the film so heavily and heartwarmingly draws upon.

Judy Garland is totally adorable as the wide-eyed innocence of little Dorothy Gale, who is transported over the rainbow by a tornado into the magical world of Oz. The sequences of the tornado sweeping up the house into the air are still vastly impressive and its transistion from black and white during the Kanas sequences to colour when Dorothy lands in Oz are highly effective.

All performances in the film are utterly fantastic! Billie Burke shines as Glinda - The Good Witch Of The North whilst Margaret Hamilton is incredibly effective and devilishly evil as the Wicked Witch Of The West (who used to scare me to death as a youngster).

Ray Bolger takes on the role as the scarecrow, Jack Hayley as the Tinman and Bert Lahr puts in a marvelous interpretation of the Cowardly Lion. What can I say about these actors that hasn't already been said a thousand times. They all glow in their parts and capture the imagination. Frank Morgan displays the most versatility by turning up in anumber of guises, most notably in the role of the imposter, Wizard Of Oz.

What The Wizard Of Oz has to offer is basically a little something for everyone - from wonderfully strange lands, many fun and scary moments, a positivley dazzling and delightful array of fairy tale characters and some fabulous numbers.

Whilst Dorothy begins her adventures along the yellow brick road, the film holds many fun, light-hearted moments though the mood considerably darkens when Dorothy is captured by the winged monkeys and is taken to the Wicked Witch of the Wests eerie looking castle where she is held prisoner. Even at 24 years old now, I still can't help feeling that slight sense of anxiousness when Dorothy cries out for Aunt Em when she is locked away to her exciting escape.

This DVD edition hosts a wealth of fascinating features that will enthrall any fan of this film. A series of out takes are included such as the wonderful Jitterbug sequence and an interesting documentary on the making of the movie, hosted by Angela Lansbury.

The documentary details the films origanal ethos and it now seems unthinkable for The Wizard Of Oz to be any different but infact, MGM had its eye on Shirley Temple playing Dorothy. You really can't imagine anyone but Judy Garland play that role as she plays its so perfectly. Its interesting to also hear anecdotes and shared memories from the rest of the cast and this special is generally a celebration of the ever-lasting Oz phenomenon.

Beautifully done, The Wizard Of Oz has proved to be THE quintesential Hollywood production and possible remains the best childrens movie ever made! Songs like Somewhere Over The Rainbow, sung so touchingly by Judy Garland made such an impact on a world sliding into the war at the close of the 1930's.
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on 9 November 2001
The Wizard of Oz may be aurguably the greatest film of all time. A huge statement to make but one that I feel this motion picture deserves.
This new DVD region 2 release is possibly the best put together package that I have seen. The extra features are just that, FEATURES! A documentary on the making of the film, pictures of the cast, home movie footage of the actual sets and characters, the list is seemingly endless.
When you do sit down to watch "The main feature", again you will not be dissapointed. The film loses nothing of it's original charm and magic. Strong story, strong characters and fantastic cinematography throughout the movie. The soundtrack is now even more spectacular, having been given the 5.1 treatment. You must buy this film and put it to the top of your want list immediately!
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on 3 January 2010
It is great to finally have a region 2 copy of this dvd. This is my favourite film of all time and I watched it endlessly as a kid much to the annoyance of my parents. It is a timeless classic one of those films where everyone knows the story and sings along to the songs. I watched it recently at the cinema one of the monday classics showing. It was fantastic to see it on the big screen all restored the colour and picture were amazing and my favourite character is still the wicked witch of the west. If you have never seen this film shame on you you should have and for younger persons it is a timeless classic not to be missed.
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on 31 October 2009
what a beautiful representation of the wizard of oz. i recieved my copy yesterday and watched it immediately after i was home from work. watching this film on bluray is like seeing it again. from the opening scenes in black and white you can see how well the film has held up over the last 70 years. they have completely restored the film so it is without a blemish. detail is fine and i would say perfect. i am glad to see that they have obviously not used anything to make the film appear modern because the grain that is there adds to the charm of this film. as soon as dorothy lands in oz and opens the door to munchkin land the screen explodes with colour. the colours radiate of the screen in all their glory. what a difference scenes with the munchkins and in the emerald city are with the clear depth of the colour. the detail of the film also amazes me. close ups of judy garlands face reveal every freckle and 'blemish' it is the face of dorothy as youve never seen her,the innocent teenager lost in a land she doesnt know. the detail also adds superb depth to the film, in scenes such as the poppy field it looks it goes on forever. the disc comes with a dvd version of the film aswell. i have a 2001 edition dvd and after watching the bluray yesterday (sad as i am) i put the dvd on a standard dvd player on another tv next to my bluray player. the difference is unbelieveable (i didnt watch the whole film). the colours in the bluray are so much more vibrant. makeup can be seen on the muchkins and the cowardly lion easily (i think this adds to the film) and you can see every square on dorothys dress. one thing that blu me away were those ruby slippers on the yellow brick road. they are so vibrant that they could walk back to kansas on thier own. i would thoroughly recomend this as an upgrade from the dvd. you wont regret it.
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on 8 February 2011
I have this classic film on DVD as my daughter loves it. I decided to invest in this blu ray version - and even bearing in mind the age of the film and obviously expecting some graininess - I was hoping to see an improvement in picture quality. Sadly I didn't and when flicking between the DVD picture and blu ray, the DVD picture, although not as strikingly colourful, was at least as good. In fact it was a smoother and more natural image with the graininess of the blu ray being distracting
If you already own on DVD I wouldn't recommend buying this blu ray.
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on 10 November 2009
Audio:
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English.
Dolby Digital 5.1 English.
Mono 1.0 French, Castilian Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Italian, English.

Subs:
English, Brazilian Portuguese, Castilian Spanish, Complex Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Latin Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish.
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on 23 November 2005
I am glad I bought this classic movie as I was amazed by the new transfer & I have to say that the colour is simply stunning. the yellow brick road is as pretty as it's always been & if there is a word to describe this movie it will be Wonderful. buy this one as it's a classic. Over The Rainbow is one of my favourite movie songs & this 2 disc DVD will make a great Xmas present for the young in heart.
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on 23 July 2006
"I'll get you my pretty, and you're little dog too!" Who in the history of the entire world doesn't know that line?

One of my all time favourite films I watch it every year at least once, usually at Christmas.
Judy Garland is perfect for the winsome little girl from Kansas Dorothy, with her little dog Toto. How could M-G-M have even considered anybody else in the part?
Ray Bolger is bandy-legged and loyal as the Scarecrow without a brain, Jack Haley is so loving and caring as Tin Man, and Bert Lahr is fantastic + memorable as the Cowardly Lion.

It is film chemistry at it's greatest, and there are over a billion people world wide that have seen the Wizard of Oz. So Follow the Yellow brick road to your copy of the Wizard of Oz!!!
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on 4 December 2010
Purchased this as an upgrade from the previous DVD release several years ago. I was considering importing the US collectors edition but decided to go with the UK release instead. Many reviews had focused on the excellent hi-def picture quality of this particular release so when I began to watch the movie on my fantastic Samsung HDTV I was expecting great things. Unfortunately this version fails to live up to the hype. The picture quality is mediocre at best, only slightly superior to my older DVD of this classic. I'm glad I did not import the much more expensive US version now. Would only recommend if you do not already own this film on DVD.
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