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The Wizard Of Oz

The Wizard Of Oz

The best compliment I can pay the new theatrical
presentation of this timeless movie is that I forgot I was watching it in 3-D.
I’ll leave it to others to analyze the use of depth in various scenes: to my
eyes, nothing seemed forced or unnatural, and that made me happy. The film
looks as beautiful as ever, its exquisite production design and use of
Technicolor as dazzling as it must have seemed in 1939. If you’ve never seen it
on a big screen it’s an experience not to be missed.

I can’t pretend to have the same perspective on this film as
someone who’s never seen it before…or someone who has grown up in the era of
CGI. The old-fashioned, old-school wizardry of MGM still looks impressive to me
today, despite the inevitable tools that modern filmmakers have at their

Much of the magic comes not from visual effects, of course,
but from the very human input of the director, screenwriter, songwriters, production
team, and of course an incomparable cast. Judy Garland’s life bore no
resemblance to that of wide-eyed Dorothy Gale, yet she seems utterly genuine
and heartfelt in that role. When, in the final scene, she sums up the jumble of
feelings in her head—and in her heart—my eyes always well up with tears. The Wizard of Oz is a thing of joy and beauty,
and I’m glad it’s back on theater screens, where it belongs.

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In the 30s, MGM was producing a radio show to promote their movies. When The Wizard of Oz was released, they had all the stars appear on this program, Good News of 1939, except one (I forget if it was Jack Haley or Ray Bolger). Robert Young, host of the program, filled in. Frank Morgan was already a regular on this program as a sidekick and comic foil to Robert Young.

You can download it for free here:


The 3D wasn't bad, but was really unnecessary. Maltin is right; this movie is just as moving and powerful today as it was 74 years ago.

One thing I was hoping for was the extended dance sequence in the Scarecrow's "If I Only Had a Brain." I've seen it on DVD, but it would've been nice if they'd added it to this theatrical release.


I shared this on Facebook, with the following comments:

"I agree with Leonard Maltin. (I almost always do.) The clarity of the image and the brilliance of the Technicolor were apparent several years ago in the Blu-ray release, and the nearly square screen format is perfect for IMAX, so the primary difference in this version is the 3D effect, which seems perfectly normal and natural once seen. (I'm going to have to get my own pair of 3D glasses to take to the theater, since the ones they pass out are always scratched up by the time they get to me.)

"The teenage Miss Garland's performance portrays a perfect innocence in this film. Although I'd forgotten what a fine singing voice Jack Haley had, there's no forgetting Ray Bolger's dancing ability, his rubber-like limbs here imitating ones made of straw.

"For those few of you who, like me, sit through the end credits all the way to the end, lest there be a closing surprise, you won't have long to sit. This was made when not even the entire cast was credited, long before every caterer, truck driver, and anybody who had anything remotely related to the film had to be listed (not that I decry it, mind you…I say give credit where credit is due)."


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