The Wizard of Oz, which debuted in movie theaters in 1939, is 70 years young this year, and the film looks better than ever. Available on Blu-ray and DVD, a four-disc 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition brings the beloved classic to fans of all ages in a re-mastered version with six times higher resolution than standard DVD, with superior Dolby TruHD sound, and with 16 hours of bonus features including four hours of material that has never been seen before.
Warner Bros. celebrated the landmark occasion with an Emerald Gala at New York landmark Tavern on the Green last week, a truly magical night befitting a movie that has delighted generations of viewers and continues to attract new devoted fans with each new medium in which it is released. From the silver screen to television broadcasts, to videotape, DVD, and now Blu-ray, audiences continue to discover the charm of The Wizard of Oz. Jerry Maren, who played a Lollipop Guild member and was one of the surviving original Munchkins who attended the gala, said during a round-table interview on Thursday, “It feels like every time you see it, you see something new.”
Even people who have seen The Wizard of Oz countless times during their lives will be thrilled to see the new release and they will find new tidbits never seen before. Included is a 52-page book by Oz historian John Fricke with previously unpublished artwork that is part of the limited edition Ultimate Collector’s package, such as a press book for Oz from 1939, one of the most lavish ever created by a Hollywood studio. Mr. Fricke raved, “I don’t have to manufacture the enthusiasm when I talk about Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz ... I think The Wizard of Oz as a film typifies the very best of musical comedy entertainment … [Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale] draws the audience right into the action from that very first moment — her vulnerability, her sincerity, and her worry about that dog, and then the need to run away from home, and then the idea of her being lost and having to get back home. Every kid goes on that journey instantly with her.”