This massive, four-disc monster box set of the 1939 classic isn’t so much a trip over the rainbow as one down the rabbit hole, straight to an alternate universe where all roads lead to Oz. In honor of the movie’s 70th anniversary, the film has undergone an extensive digital restoration, and the results are astonishing. The sound and picture have never been clearer; details that had been lost in previous transfers, like the burlap textures of the Scarecrow’s makeup, are suddenly clearly visible.
The list of extras—some new, many available on the 2005 three-disc release—is amazing, if a bit fetishistic: docs on L. Frank Baum and director Victor Fleming, home movies of composer Harold Arlen, test footage of the tornado sequence, several silent Oz shorts from Baum’s brief foray into film in the 1910s, a silent version from 1925, a radio broadcast, short bios of the principal cast and much more. Fans could spend a long weekend buried in the supplements and not get through it all. For casual DVD buyers who, you know, just like the movie, this investment of time and money may feel excessive. A much cheaper two-disc edition (a mere $24.98) is probably more their speed.
However, Oz completists will be gleeful for the most part, even though the history on display is very much the official version (sorry, no stories about drunken Munchkin parties here). And despite being called the “ultimate collectors’ edition,” the box does not include a copy of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon; if you want to synchronize the classic album to the movie, alas, you’ll have to BYOPF.—Hank Sartin