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Criterion BD sale on Amazon, Wizard of Oz: 75th in 3D, Making of Return of the Jedi book & more!

June 05, 2013 - 12:01 am   |   By 

Before we get started today, we wanted to let you know that Amazon.com is having a big sale on Criterion Blu-ray titles right now – many titles are as much as 50% off (including Repo Man, Seven Samurai and lots more).  Amazon is also running a weekly special on Farscape: The Complete Series on Blu-ray for 53% off.  Be sure to take advantage if there are titles you’re looking for.

Now then, Warner Home Video has finally officially announced the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD release of The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition on 10/1.  All three versions will be included in a 5-disc Limited Collector’s Edition (SRP $105.43) that comes packaged with a collectible 75th Anniversary journal, a “Sparkle Ruby Slippers Globe,” a Noble Collection 3-piece enamel pin set, a Map of Oz and a 48-page hardcover book.  Amazon also has an exclusive version of the box that comes with a 4 GB “Wicked Witch of the East” flash drive (it looks like her leg, sticking out from under Dorothy’s house – no I’m not kidding).  There will also be a 2-disc Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray Combo (SRP $35.99), a single-disc Blu-ray (SRP $19.98) and a 2-disc DVD (SRP $16.95).  All versions of the release will come with a brand new documentary called The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  From the official press release:  “This candid overview of how a troubled production overcame the odds to become an integral part of American culture features contributions from historians John Fricke and Sam Wasson, composers Stephen Schwartz and Marc Shaiman, critics Leonard Maltin and Michael Sragow, Bert Lahr’s son John as well as revealing interview clips with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Buddy Ebsen, Margaret Hamilton and Mervyn LeRoy, among others.”

The new 3D version of film is also being re-released into IMAX 3D theaters for a one-week engagement in North America starting on 9/20.  “The 3D conversion was a long and complex project which Warner Bros. initiated with a very high resolution (8K) scanning of the original Technicolor camera negative.  The restored 2D image was then transformed by creating a depth-map of each frame to construct 3D imagery and determine distances from the viewer’s vantage point.  This was followed by the long process (with the use of a rotoscope) to further refine viewer distances and fully layer shapes and objects.”

“People have asked for years about The Wizard of Oz 3D conversion.  My answer was always, ‘We’re not doing it until it’s perfect.’  And now it is,” said Ned Price, Warner Technical Operations’ Vice President of Mastering.  “As a kid, I was so enthralled by this film.  Watching it, you just want to enter the frame, enter the Land of Oz.  This new version will allow you to do just that.”

Also today, Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment and Steelyard Pictures have set The Power of Few for Blu-ray and DVD release on 7/9.  Extras will include 2 featurettes, deleted scenes and cast interviews with Christopher Walken, Christian Slater, Anthony Anderson and rapper Juvenile.

IFC Films has set Inescapable for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/2.

And Lionsgate will release Among Friends and Billy the Kid on DVD only on 8/27.

Finally today, any Star Wars fans out there?  Have you already purchased J.W. Rinzler’s excellent The Making of Star Wars and The Making of The Empire Strikes Back hardcover books from Random House?  Then you’ll be pleased to learn that Rinzler is finishing his look behind the scenes on the trilogy on 10/1 with The Making of Return of the Jedi (SRP $85.00 – but Amazon has it available for pre-order for $55.47).  If it’s as good as the previous two books, it should be pretty spectacular.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray Disc cover artwork for Warner’s 42 (due 7/16) and Fox’s At Long Last Love (now available), Random House’s cover art for The Making of Return of the Jedi book and Warner’s The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition: Limited Collector’s Edition box set...

42 (Blu-ray Disc    At Long Last Love (Blu-ray Disc)    The Making of Return of the Jedi (Book)

The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition: Limited Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray 3D)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

 

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Adam Jahnke

The Twin Peaks Blu-ray set is one of the most beautifully packaged home video sets I have ever seen.

by Adam Jahnke