So, in about a week, I'll have my copy of The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition. (What are they going to do for the next DVD's title?) This will mark the first time that the MGM movie has been released to Blu-Ray as well.
Despite the amazing restoration job they released back in 2005, they've assured us it will look even better this time around.
Some film fans wonder how an old movie can be restored for high-definition when it wasn't filmed that way. While you can't truly make a movie high-definition without filming with that technology, the advantage of a larger image size allows for a clearer picture, allowing you to see details that you couldn't see before. Film cameras were actually very good at picking up these details. (Maybe this will finally help show that it's a bird in the background!)
All of the special features from the 2005 editions have been carried over, so if you're needing to replace that edition, this is an upgrade because some new material has been added.
Probably what a lot of fans are looking forward to is the long-awaited home video release of The Dreamer of Oz, the biopic of L. Frank Baum starring John Ritter and Annette O'Toole. While it's not a completely accurate biography, it does manage to entertain. (My hope for the disc has been answered with the previous edition's documentary of Baum appearing on the same disc.)
Two new documentaries related to the MGM movie have been cooked up for this edition, one covering the Munchkin actors receiving their star on the walk of fame, and another about director Victor Fleming, the director whose name appears in the movie.
What's getting me to get this especially is the inclusion of "The Patchwork Girl of Oz" silent film on the fourth disc. There's only been a few cheap releases of this one made, some dropping the title screen, others marring it with watermarks and changing the title screen to include new credits. Given the high transfer quality of the silent films on the 2005 set, I'm looking forward to this one!
Also, there's the restored version of "The Magic Cloak of Oz." This is also new, as this version has only been in private collections before. Now with it on home video, normal Oz fans can see it in their own home.
Just about the only silent film that they could add is Baum's "The Last Egyptian," but it is not on this, likely as it's not a family film, does not have "Oz" in the title, and it's also the one film from the Oz Manufacturing Company that exists in some form that is in the absolute worst shape.
Although it's not been in the press releases, John Fricke, who has been heavily involved with creating the set, has mentioned that the 1932 "Land of Oz" film from the Meglin Kiddies will also be included. As this will likely be the film in the worst shape on the set (the second half of the soundtrack is missing), that may be why it hasn't been announced.
*EDIT: The DVD's official website has listed this feature!*
For Blu-Ray customers, you also get the six-hour documentary "MGM: When The Lion Roars," likely taking on it's own disc. And there is also a DVD-ROM with a digital copy of the movie to transfer to your computer or an authorized mobile device.
Following the style of the 2005 set, some non-DVD memorabilia is included. None of the material from the 2005 set is carried over here, so people who have those folders of printed matter still have something collectible. Instead, we have a reproduction of the film's advertising campaign book, the film's budget, and a miniature coffee table book by John Fricke. Also included is a watch that is sure to be a collector's item.
So what are you waiting for? It's a limited edition! Go order your copy now!