I had the great pleasure of attending the special HD presentation of "The Wizard of Oz" on Wednesday. What a wonderful way to spend an evening. I skipped a class (My Writing about Film screening of "Away From Her"). It was definitely worth it.
The film opened with a brief introduction by our favorite spokesman Robert Osborne, followed by a short documentary about the production. It wasn't terribly detailed for a classic film fan, but the less-devoted people around me seemed interested in it. I did enjoy the stock footage of Margaret Hamilton describing her casting as the witch. She seemed like a hoot.
The film was spectacular. I got a little misty-eyed when the opening credits began to roll. I couldn't stop thinking about how lucky 1939 audiences were to be able to see this for the first time on the big screen. There were things I had never noticed before-the details in Munchkinland and Oz especially. Things I never saw on the 27-inch TV that first presented me with this film in my childhood. Even though I have never known a world without color images, the transition from sepia to color was mesmerizing, like a whole new world was being opened up to me.
Another thing I realized during the film was that I had never seen it the whole way through in one sitting! Bert Lahr as the cowardly lion really steals the show, and Jack Haley is adorable.
There are many theories as to what this movie means to 1939-just beginning to recover from the Great Depression and gearing up for WWII. It must have been a nervous and uncertain time. I haven't fully made up my mind yet, but I think there are definitely some political and religious symbols. Perhaps after I read the book I will have a better background on what was added for the film.
Please let me know if you were able to attend the event, and how you felt about it. The host, Fathom Events, is hosting another special event Thursday, October 8th. It is "Plan 9 from Outer Space", featuring an all-new MST3K commentary. I will be attending that one as well. To fin the nearest involved theater, check here.
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