Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Dreamer of Oz" on DVD

I was one of the lucky people to watch this tele-movie when it first aired on TV and I would rent the video whenever I could (it had a nice cover).

Once I knew enough, I made it a point to watch this movie every year on L Frank Baum's birthday, even if it is just one (inaccurate) portion of his life.

I also had and enjoyed listening to the CD (and reading its vastly illustrated and written booklet) whenever I could (which you can buy here on Amazon).

Personally I would have Track 16 say "Magic Land"
or "the Munchkins" rather than "Oz"

And like many other viewers, if not all, I wished and wished and waited for it to come on DVD (I particularly wanted a "Commemorative" Special Edition to be made after John Ritter's death) ... but one day WB included it in their set for MGM's the Wizard of Oz.

But I am here to talk about another DVD release it has had - as well as a comparison of the two prints.

Warner Bros has the movie in a Set, you have to unpack to get out the disk, together with the Special Features that may focus on Frank Baum, usually the earlier Silent Films and 1933 Ted Eshbaugh cartoon.
  The picture is not restored or remastered, due to the type of video used for filming for TV in those 90s days, so the lines and quality often looks double-exposed or "side-by-side".

This version of the video is by a fully licensed and famous studio that distributes widely, in store and online.

Screenshot of the Opening Title from the official WB release

Another version of the movie's DVD release is simpler and lesser known.

As you can see above, the cover uses the art from the CD soundtrack.

Menu screenshot from the "rare and collectible" single-disk version

Surprisingly, the picture is a little different:  by comparison it is not as colourful nor is it out of focus and the size when playing is different to WB.
But also note how the colours are not as strong nor is the contrast as deep, so the green is a bit paler, the darker areas are a bit greyer and the picture is still overall soft.

However there is no trailer or short video ad that reveals the distributor or DVD manufacturing company; the Menu uses the Opening Title as its design and the movie itself will not play on my computer's VLC player (hence explains why I do not have anymore screenshot comparisons).
On DVD/Blu-ray Player, however, it repeats the movie as soon as it finishes.

And as you can see from the above Menu, there are no other options whatsoever, NONE AT ALL ... so no subtitles.

Most likely this is a bootleg copy, piracy of which is a crime, so I will not include the link of where I got this to support that kind of purchasing (even if that site has another movie I've been wanting on DVD).
Hopefully this post will make others aware of unlicensed copies.

It would be so much better and a pleasant surprise if WB would put in the effort to restore and remaster "the Dreamer of Oz" for a new release, on its own or with MGM's "Wizard" again, especially since there are many photos out there that could be put together for a Gallery and there was once a bunch of videos on YouTube that had some of the actors (Munchkins) talking about the telemovie on a Daytime Show.
Not to mention, WB could also include the new and improved remastered 1933 cartoon on future releases, now that Thunderbean Animation has put their DVD+Blu-ray version out.

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