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Why 'The Wizard of Oz' 3-D IMAX Conversion is Worth It

by Aljean Harmetz
September 18, 2013 11:48 AM
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"The Wizard of Oz"

I have seen “The Wizard of Oz” at least 26 times. I have watched it in movie theatres, on television, on tape, on DVD, on Blu-Ray, after talking about the movie to 1000 people in Sacramento, and twice in 16 millimeter on my living room wall when I was writing “The Making of the Wizard of Oz: Movie Magic and Studio Power in the Prime of MGM” 35 years after the movie was made.

When “The Wizard of Oz” was made, in 1938 and 1939, my mother worked in the wardrobe department at M-G-M. Because I was too young to understand its value, I read to tatters the copy of L. Frank Baum’s book signed by Judy Garland, the lion, the scarecrow, the tin man, the wicked witch and the wizard that was my Christmas present.

If there’s “No Place Like Home,” there is also no movie quite like “The Wizard of Oz,” and Warner Bros. is celebrating its 75th anniversary with hundreds of things to buy -- jewelry, Lullaby League tutus for little girls and Dorothy thigh high dresses for their older sisters, stationary, candy bars, nail polish, toys, fruit juice and slot machines -- in addition to tickets to the IMAX 3-D version that will show in theatres for one week beginning Friday, September 20, and the 3-D Collectors’ Edition 5 disc DVD/Blu-Ray with a suggested retail price of $105.43 that will be for sale on October 1. Each of the characters in McDonald’s Happy Meals will have its own piece of the Yellow Brick Road to stand on, and 2.5 million bunches of asparagus will be decorated with OZ hang tags.

So are the 16 months of work by more than 1000 people and the thousands of hours and, most probably, millions of dollars spent converting the movie to 3-D worth it?

For me, the Kansas sequence was exceptionally enhanced. Anyone who has ever tried to take a picture of a Cairn terrier knows that the result is a black blob. Lifting his paw and his eyes visible as he gazed at Dorothy, Toto was much more a character instead of an appendage.


  • Tired of the 3D gimmickry | September 23, 2013 5:35 PMReply

    Did they ted-turnerize the black & white parts of the movie too? I wish 3D would go away like the bad era of colourizing every black & white cell that could be found to squeeze another dollar via "in colour for the first time". Now it's just "in 3D for the first time". 3D is bad enough when applied to new movies. Stop defacing the classics.

  • joes | September 19, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    3D stinks.

    NO need for this. I just wish they would have a 2D option for folks who just want to see a nice print projected on the biggest possible screen. But, money talks, and you only have the 3D option.


  • David | September 19, 2013 11:18 PM

    You get the 2D version for free. Just close one eye :)

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