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The Merry Old Land Of Oz,
This review is from: The Wizard of Oz (2 Disc Special Edition)  [DVD] (DVD)
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.