The Wizard of Oz Gift Set

December 10, 1999:

The Wizard of Oz Gift Set

(Warner Home Video, 1999, DVD: $35; VHS: $42)

For a film that experienced such a painful pregnancy -- enduring a furious game of musical directors during its production -- it's truly a testament to the magic of The Wizard of Oz that it has matured into the Hollywood equivalent of the little train that could. Charging down the track once more, Warner Bros. leads its old thoroughbred from the stables yet again for the home viewer, this time as an over-stuffed collectible re-mastered in Dolby Digital sound. Wrapped in a box set that also includes a reproduction of the original screenplay, a behind-the-scenes documentary hosted by Angela Lansbury, and rare still photos, cinephiles and memorabilia enthusiasts will also acquire a first-ever recording of the 1939 radio broadcast of "Over the Rainbow." What's more, the DVD version comes equipped with original teaser trailers, special-effects sketches, rare still photos, and a color reprint of the theatrical poster. As for all the conspiracy theorists out there who continue to propagate the notion that Oz is nothing more than a government-sponsored mind-control film from which no one escapes, avoid experimenting with the DVD multilanguage tracks. After hearing all those flying monkeys screaming at you in French, you may never recover free will again.

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