The Wizard of Oz – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

The Wizard of Oz

Many consider The Wizard of Oz to be one of the great films of the golden age of Hollywood. When you watch the film, it’s easy to see why so many people feel this way. After so many years, the film still holds up on many storytelling levels. Of course, the film’s special effects have aged compared to modern times. However, at the time the use of special effects at the time was a tedious process. Sadly, the archaic way of doing special effects might turn some modern-day audiences away from the film.

Regardless, The Wizard of Oz is a cinematic classic that brings out the inner child in you through the fantastical (and practical) sets and film’s iconic music. The sets are all grandiose and unbelievable that reminds you so much of modern-day Disneyland. Not to mention, the inhabitants of Oz are not only creative but they have a mythical quality to them too.

Also, the legendary four characters provide the film with so much fun and playfulness. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion are all loveable characters—each with a unique personality. They give the film characters that audiences can love and attach themselves to. Ultimately, it’s the film’s iconic songs that makes the film the classic that it is. The soundtrack features so many songs that are still recognizable to this very day.

But past the songs and the spectacle, the film features plenty of wonderful messages that kids and adults can relate to. Of course, some are blatant (“there’s no place like home”) while others are much more subtle. The theme of finding something that’s already within you is such a powerful message that everyone should hear.

Overall, The Wizard of Oz is a cinematography classic that brings out the child out of each one of us. It’s a magical journey full of wonder and excitement. But most of all, it sends a lot of powerful messages of finding oneself and finding out that there is no place like home. It truly is a timeless story and a timeless film.

Movie Rating: 5/5 atoms

Video

The Wizard of Oz - Margaret Hamilton, Judy Garland, and Billie Burke

The Wizard of Oz hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR transfer and a 1.37:1 aspect ratio. The first thing you’ll notice is how incredibly clear the picture is. You can see how crisp and clean the details look in the black and white scenes. However, you can truly see how clear the picture is when Dorothy finally reaches Oz. Not to mention, the brightness resonates off the screen—especially in Glinda’s costume and the ruby slippers. Although there aren’t a ton of dark scenes or shadows, the black levels are dark gray. You can see this more on the Scarecrow’s face because of his hat. Because of the wide array of colors, the colors and skin tones look natural and shines off the screen. Overall, this is a great video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Audio

The Wizard of Oz - Frank Morgan

The Wizard of Oz hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Because of the original monaural audio mix, it only makes sense that the film’s modern-day audio mix would still be front-loaded. There is a limited amount of immersion moments in the audio mix. But when it comes, it fills up the entire soundstage—like the tornado scene that whisks Dorothy off to Oz. But the most consistent thing in the mix is the music itself. The iconic music and the score both sound clear and both fill up the soundstage. Unfortunately, the dialogue doesn’t sound as clean as the music. Overall, the mix is fine considering what the source material was.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features

The Wizard of Oz - Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jud Garland, and Jack Haley

The Wizard of Oz‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the audio commentary and “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” featurette on it. However, you can find the rest of the legacy special features on the regular 1080p Blu-ray disc:

  • Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy, and Jerry Maren
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic
  • “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” Storybook
  • We Haven’t Really Met Properly…
    • Frank Morgan as The Wizard of Oz/Professor Marvel
    • Ray Bolger as The Scarecrow/Hunk
    • Bert Lahr as The Cowardly Lion/Zeke
    • Jack Haley as The Tin Man/Hickory
    • Billie Burke as Glinda, Good Witch of the North
    • Margaret Hamilton as The Wicked Witch of the West/Miss Gulch
    • Charley Grapewin as Uncle Henry
    • Clara Blandick as Auntie Em
    • Terry as Toto
  • Music and Effects Track
  • Original Mono Track
  • Sing-Along
  • Audio Jukebox
  • Leo Is on the Air Radio Promo
  • Good News of 1939 Radio Show
  • 12/25/1950 Luz Radio Theater Broadcast
  • Stills Galleries
  • Trailers

The audio commentary is not your traditional audio commentary. As you can tell from the large list of people above, there are a lot of people who provide stories in the commentary. However, the commentary acts as a “pop-up video” type of commentary. In other words, random facts and interview clips ”pop-up” during the commentary.

​“Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is a fantastic behind-the-scenes making-of featurette that covers almost everything that you’d want to know about the making of the film—from its troubled beginnings to its cultural impact. The storybook is a 4:3 motion illustration that tells the entire story of L. Frank Baum’s “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” children’s novel.

“We Haven’t Really Met Properly” are short biography features of all the actors in the film. However, if you want to learn more about the history of the actors then you should check out the amazing making-of featurette. The audio tracks are simply there to give you a different version of the film. Also, the radio shows promoting the film are simply there to put on in the background and listen to it as people did back in the 30s.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms


Overall, The Wizard of Oz is a cinematic classic that’ll still live on for generations after us. It’s a perfect story anchored by Judy Garland, the lovable ensemble, the vibrant and fantastical sets, and all of the iconic songs. The video is crystal clear while the audio mix is good for what it is. The special features are robust despite being old featurettes from previous releases.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Warner Bros Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1518 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.