PG | | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
MGM had originally planned to incorporate a "stencil printing" process when Dorothy runs to open the farmhouse door before the film switches to Technicolor; each frame was to be hand-tinted to keep the inside of the door in sepia tone. This process--cumbersome, expensive and ineffective--was abandoned in favor of a simpler and more clever alternative (a variation of this process was used, however, in 1939 release prints of The Women (1939)). The inside of the farmhouse was painted sepia, and the Dorothy who opens the door from the inside is not Judy Garland but her stand-in wearing a sepia-rinsed version of the famous gingham dress. Once the door is opened and the camera advances through it, Garland (wearing her bright blue dress) walks through the door and the audience is none the wiser. This effect does not work on older video/TV prints where the Kansas scenes appear in true black and white, as the changeover to color is all too apparent. With the Kansas scenes returned to their original sepia tints, however, they closely match the magical opening door and the effect is powerful.
She isn't coming yet, Toto. Did she hurt you? She tried to, didn't she? Come on. We'll go tell Uncle Henry and Auntie Em.
The "unbreakable crown" subsequently disappears completely.
The credits say "Photographed in Technicolor", not "Color Sequences by Technicolor", thus making it seem as if the entire film were made in color. It is not known if this was deliberately done to enhance the surprise when the picture turns into full three-strip Technicolor, but it is quite possible. Posters at the time also advertised the film as being in Technicolor, but made no mention of sepia tint or black-and-white. The advertisement for the film's first telecast, however, did say "in color and black-and-white" (the Kansas sequences were shown on TV in black-and-white, not sepia, until the 1990 telecast, when they were restored).
In 2004 and 2005 Warner Bros. restored the film using their digital Ultra Resolution technique for the film's 2005 re-release on DVD. This corrected the issues regarding the three Technicolor strips becoming misaligned during the 1998 restoration and also presented the film in its best quality to date.
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