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The Wizard Of Oz - Video 8 cover

The Wizard Of Oz 

Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. The screen-specific audio commentary is a wonderful collection of anecdotes and information about the film and its legacy. Sydney Pollack acts as moderator; he’s joined by historian John Fricke and the track is peppered with recollections from Oz alums Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, producer Mervyn LeRoy, and Jerry Maren. Most of this material covered is replicated within other extras, but that doesn’t keep this commentary from being tops. Also on disc one are three featurettes. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook (10:30) has Angela Lansbury reading a short version of L. Frank Baum’s book against original illustrations from the work. Prettier Than Ever: The Restoration of Oz (11:30) is a self-explanatory look at the difficulties in bringing the film to DVD. And We Haven’t Really Met Properly (21:30) is a set of introductions to cast members from the film, including Toto (Angela Lansbury narrates). Disc two gives us four wonderful documentaries. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic (50:45) is a 1990 doc again narrated by Angela Lansbury. Memories of Oz (27:30) is a 2001 doc that was originally produced for TCM. The Art of Imagination: A Tribute to Oz (29:45) is a new collection of thoughts on the film from fellow film artists from both Oz’s era as well as the present. And Because of the Wonderful Things It Does: The Legacy of Oz (25:00) is a more academic and historical peek at the film’s continued importance and reputation (although Brittany Murphy’s narration is a bit grating). Then we get a handful of featurettes. Harold Arlen’s Home Movies (4:45) is a behind-the-scenes collection of 16mm footage taken during the film’s production. It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister!: The Tornado Sets (8:00) is a peek at the special effects of the film. Off to See the Wizard (4:00) is a set of eight short Oz-themed cartoons from 1967 directed by Chuck Jones (!). There are also three vintage featurettes featured in the From the Vault section of the disc – Another Romance of Celluloid: Electrical Power (10:30), Cavalcade of the Academy Awards Excerpt (2:25), and Texas Contest Winners (1:30). Five outtakes and deleted scenes (with an introduction from Angela Lansbury.) In the audio vault we can find three hours of unreleased recordings and alternate takes of recognizable themes from the film. There are also three audio featurettes: Lee is on the Air (12:00), a radio piece showcasing the film’s music Good News of 1939 Radio Show (61:00) that features stars from The Wizard of Oz 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theatre Broadcast (61:00) that retells the film – it features Judy Garland reprising her role as Dorothy. Also on this disc are monstrous still galleries and no fewer than six theatrical trailers ranging from the 1939 teaser to the 1998 re-release. Disc 3: L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain (27:30), which focuses on the author who concocted the Oz myth. The pre-1939 screen versions of Oz adventures. The Wizard of Oz (13:10), a 1910 short directed by Otis Turner The Magic Cloak of Oz (38:30) and His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz (59:00), two 1914 silents directed by J. Farrell McDonald. Wizard of Oz (71:45) from 1925 director Larry Semon. 1933 cartoon (also titled The Wizard of Oz) that runs about eight minutes.

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