Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Rant #95: I'm Off To See the Wizard ...
Seven decades after its original release, can anyone deny that “The Wizard of Oz” is probably the greatest film ever made?
Oh yes, I know about “Casablanca,” “Citizen Kane,” and “Gone With the Wind.” However, “Oz” stands heads and shoulders above these films for one major reason: it can be viewed and enjoyed by a range of people from five to 105. Do the other films appeal to such a demographic?
And fans of “Oz” have a treat in store for them tonight, for one night only. Seventy years after its first screening, the film is headed back to theaters nationwide today for one night as Warner Bros. unveils a technologically updated and improved version ahead of its release on Blu-ray Hi-Def.
When I heard that one of my local theaters was going to show this film in this manner, I bought tickets to tonight’s show without hesitation. I have never seen the film on the big screen, and the chance to see it in all of its HD glory cemented the deal for me.
With my wife and son accompanying me, I know I will see all of the elements of the film that I have seen countless times over: Judy Garland in probably her greatest role along with Jack Haley, Burt Lahr, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton in perhaps their greatest roles; “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; the yellow-brick road; the adorable Munchkins; the Flying Monkeys; and the famous finale highlighted by “There’s No Place Like Home.”
But this time, it will be on the big screen. HD aside, since I have never seen the movie in a theater before, it will add to the experience. It will be almost like I have never seen the film before.
I can’t wait. And in addition to the movie, there will be some special add-ons, including one documentary, which will enrich the evening.
And no, “The Wizard of Oz” is not my favorite movie of all time. That personal honor goes to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” which blew me away as a kid in 1963 and is a movie that I still howl at today.
But it is not the greatest movie of all time, not by a long shot.
“The Wizard of Oz” is that movie, and I stand by what I say—and I can’t wait to see “Oz” tonight.
P.S.: We saw the movie, and although there were seemingly problems with its presentation at various points across the U.S., the theater we saw it in had no problems whatsoever. The place was about 75 percent full.
The HD experience was very, very good. The clarity of the print was amazing, especially since this is, let's remember, a 70-year-old film. The colors were vivid, and while the black and white sequences paled in comparison, they appeared to be as clear as can be. I saw things I had never seen clearly before, such as a brook that is near the yellow brick road. The clarity was so good that you could see the water running there.
The sound quality was excellent.
Overall, a great experience.
The documentary that they showed beforehand was not new, and the extras that were advertised were, I think, in that documentary, so they weren't "never before seen" as had been advertised (I paraphrased, but so be it).
There were no souvenirs, such as T-shirts, to mark the occasion, which I was slightly disappointed about, but seeing the film in all its majesty on the big screen for the first time was fantastic!
Posted by Larry at 11:29 AM