Released on September 29, 2009, the Blu-ray premiere of The Wizard of Oz was heavily promoted by Warner Home Video. The deluxe boxed set (in two separate Standard DVD and Blu-ray versions) was part of a celebration of the film’s 70th anniversary. The film was also released in various single-disc, two-disc, standard, and Blu-ray editions in the subsequent months and into the next few years. Stores like Target and Walmart had their own editions and there was also a myriad of international versions in various languages. This page features examples of as many versions of the 70th anniversary edition as possible, media, and more!
The film was one of the first to be scanned in 8K resolution “for the future” as Warner Home Video’s George Feltenstein explained at the time, “We want to be ready for the next expansion or upgrade in high-def viewing, so we won’t have to go back and re-scan them again” as reported by Jeffrey Wells on his blog.
There was a bit of controversy with fans over the digital removal of the wires that hold up Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow on his post in the cornfield, holding up the flying monkeys, and manipulating the tail of the cowardly lion (Bert Lahr). As reported by Jeffrey Wells at the time, the head of the restoration project, Robert Harris, noted that in 1939 audiences didn’t see the wires due to the projection technology at the time and the fact that three-strip Technicolor didn’t align as precisely as today. Per Harris, “if 1939 audiences didn’t see the wires when they saw the film in theatres, then present-day audiences shouldn’t see them on the Blu-ray.”
The film grain was kept as well (as also reported by Wells), “To be precise,” Harris explained this morning, “what matters is to recreate the look and texture of the original film, as seen by 1939 audiences. While by scanning original negatives we do get an image of slightly higher resolution, it’s important to make certain that the extra detail doesn’t expose things that were never meant to be seen.”
Prior to the home media release, the newly remastered film was screened on September 26, 2009, as part of the New York Film Festival at Manhattan’s Alice Tully Hall. It was also screened nationwide for one day only on September 23, 2009, by Fathom Events. That screening was marred by technical difficulties at many showings with some having to be stopped and tickets refunded. Apparently, when the film was digitally downloaded by the individual theaters, some downloads were corrupt in one way or another and theater staff didn’t take the time to do any quality control prior to the screenings. Due to the popularity of this one-day-only screening, Fathom Events repeated the event that November 17th at which time the download issues were corrected.
The boxed set was extremely popular. It was so popular that when the 75th anniversary came around, Warner Home Video released a new boxed set identical in design with slightly different content. In the intervening years, the label released several various new versions in different packaging and a variety of cover art. The label was definitely getting its money’s worth!
The promotion video for the boxed set and the “beauty shot” video highlighting the design and contents of the set.
Warner Home Video Press Release:
The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary UCE (DVD/Blu-ray)
70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition
Warner Home Video Celebrates the Beloved Classic with Spectacular New Blu-ray Version September 29
16 Hours of Enhanced Content, Four of Which Are Brand New, Includes
New Documentaries, Featurettes, a Sing-Along Track and Extraordinary Collectibles
THE WIZARD OF OZ
70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition
Burbank, Calif. June 9, 2009 – It is difficult to imagine a motion picture more magical and more wonderful than Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s wonderful The Wizard of Oz. Over the last seven decades, the film has indelibly woven itself into America’s cultural consciousness: Is there anyone who doesn’t immediately think of the film upon hearing the words, “Dorothy,” “Toto,” “Emerald City,” “Ruby Slippers” and “Yellow Brick Road” — or the lines to the song “Over the Rainbow?”
Now, the colorful characters and unforgettable songs of Oz come alive as never before when Warner Home Video brings this cinematic treasure into the digital age with the September 29 Blu-ray release of The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition. The commemorative edition contains nearly 4 hours of all-new and never-before-available bonus features and is housed in numbered collectible packaging, and will be available for a limited time only for $69.92 SRP (DVD) and $84.99 SRP (Blu-ray Hi-Def).
In order to bring all the visual splendor of The Wizard of Oz to the Hi-Def world of Blu-ray Disc, the film has been entirely remastered, with each of the original Technicolor camera negatives scanned using 8K resolution. From this scan, a final ‘capture’ master was created in 4K, yielding twice the resolution seen in the master utilized for the film’s previous DVD release.
Working in ‘full film Resolution’, extreme care was taken to ensure that all of the image fidelity contained in the original negatives was properly captured for this new presentation. The sounds of Oz will come alive on Blu-ray disc utilizing the full audio spectrum capabilities available through Dolby TrueHD audio. The net result is one of unprecedented quality that is sure to make The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Edition a benchmark in the history of the Blu-ray format.
There will also be a dedicated official site for all Oz-related events and products: Warner Bros.
The following components are ALL-NEW and exclusive to this release:
The Dreamer of Oz – which makes its long-awaited home video debut. Also remastered the occasion, this full-length motion picture was an NBC-TV special event in 1990 and thrilled critics and audiences as it told the back story of author L. Frank Baum, “the Royal Historian of Oz.” John Ritter shines in the title role — the man who defied all odds to create the famous characters and stories. Annette O’Toole beautifully co-stars as his supportive wife, with Rue McClanahan as his challenging witch of a mother-in-law.
Victor Fleming, Master Craftsman — a new feature-length documentary produced specifically for this release about the Hollywood director who, in the same year, miraculously brought both Oz and Gone With the Wind to the screen.
Hollywood Celebrates It’s Biggest Little Stars — a new featurette stars seven of the original “Munchkins of Oz” and tells the saga of the long journey, culminating in them receiving their own 2007 Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Magic Cloak of Oz — the first release of the complete 1914 silent film, including lost footage never before included in a home video presentation of this feature (produced by Baum himself).
The Patchwork Girl of Oz — another 1914 Baum-produced, feature-length silent film, new to Warner Home Video.
The Wizard of Oz Sing-Along Track — here making its home entertainment debut.
Reproductions of Archival Material — Extraordinary renderings of the original 1939 Oz campaign, exploitation, and press books. These materials constitute a Hollywood “holy grail” for Oz, Garland, and motion picture fans alike and, for decades, have been among the most sought-after and impossible-to-find collectibles.
Behind The Curtain — a 52-page miniature coffee-table book, assembled by pre-eminent Oz historian John Fricke. Encompassing much previously unpublished material, the deluxe volume includes behind-the-scenes Oz photographs, studio memos, and script pages for abandoned scenes and musical numbers.
Exclusive Wizard of Oz Watch — A collectible and numbered 70th Anniversary watch, incorporating art from the film and enhanced with genuine crystals. Available nowhere else, this beautiful timepiece was created specially for this DVD edition.
And for the Blu-Ray Ultimate Collector’s Edition, the original extended version of “If I Only Had a Brain” performed by Ray Bolger has been remastered in hi-definition especially for this release.
[JUDY ROOM NOTE: This did not happen. The version included in all releases is the previously released standard definition version.]
Blu-ray (with four Amazon.com exclusive character sheets) and standard DVD boxed sets
ABOUT THE MOVIE:
2-disc standard DVD
2-disc standard DVD “clamshell” packaging. Same artwork on the back as the standard DVD shown above.
Single disc standard DVD “clamshell”
2009 UK Sing-Along-Edition
Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s timeless children’s tale about a Kansas girl’s journey over the rainbow, The Wizard of Oz opened at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on August 15, 1939. The film was directed by Victor Fleming (who that same year directed Gone With the Wind), produced by Mervyn LeRoy, and scored by Herbert Stothart, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. Ray Bolger appeared as the Scarecrow; Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Jack Haley as the Tin Woodman. Frank Morgan was seen in six different roles, including that of the “wonderful Wizard” himself. Dorothy was portrayed by a 4’11” sixteen year old girl who quickly earned her reputation as “the world’s greatest entertainer”– the incomparable Judy Garland.
The Wizard of Oz received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and captured two Oscars® — Best Song (“Over the Rainbow”) and Best Original Score — plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Judy Garland. The film was an overwhelmingly popular and critical success upon its initial release and repeated its ability to captivate audiences when M-G-M reissued the film in 1949 and 1955. The film made a new kind of history with its network television premiere in 1956 on CBS. Nearly 45 million people tuned in for this initial telecast, marking the beginning of an annual tradition. Ever since, The Wizard of Oz has been shown virtually annually on network (and then cable) television; its magical story and heartfelt performances have enabled it to grow from a perennial classic to its current status as a treasured icon of popular culture.
TWO DISC DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
DVD & BLU-RAY HI-DEF ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITIONS:
Includes everything listed in the Two Disc SE as well as the following:
(Blu-ray Hi-Def will have Discs 1 & 2 and Discs 3 & 4 combined)
Also included are unique premiums:
EXCLUSIVE TO THE DVD and BLU-RAY HI-DEF RAY ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITIONS:
EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY HI-DEF ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITIONS:
The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Edition
Street Date: September 29, 2009
Blu-ray Hi-Def Ultimate Collector’s Edition
Ultimate Collector’s Edition (SD)
Two-Disc Special Edition