New “Wizard”: The Burning Question

wizardWarner Home Video’s Blu-ray restoration of “The Wizard of Oz” will be out on Tuesday, September 29. But blogger Jeffrey Wells says that ‘the question every videophile across the nation will be asking as he/she opens up the Blu-ray package will be “what about the damn wires?”‘

Presumably the Blu-ray upgrade will look measurably sharper and more distinct than any video version seen before. But does this mean the wires that hold up Ray Bolger’s Scarecrow (to assist in the illusion that he’s hanging from a wooden post among the cornstalks) will look even more vivid than they did in the last Wizard of Oz upgrade, which came out in 2005? Ditto the wires that hold up those flying monkeys serving Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West?

Nobody spotted the wires when The Wizard of Oz opened in 1939. They couldn’t have with the coarseness of film stock and 1939-era projection technology and the process of three-strip Technicolor alignment being what it was. And nobody ever spotted the wires on any of those TV showings in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, or on VHS or laser discs or even on early DVDs. But they were easily detectable on WHV’s 2005 Special Edition, and one can only guess how much clearer they’ll be on the new Blu-ray. Unless wiser heads have prevailed, of course.

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