Monday, 21 October 2013

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS: THE WIZARD OF OZ

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS

7. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939, dir. Victor Fleming and King Vidor)

21/10/2013

*

I do not wish to contemplate how much money I have given to HMV, Amazon and other shops over the years, but the home video market is a good example of an industry that will make you pay for the same thing time and again, because they know their audience is after quality.

"The Wizard of Oz" is apart of a small number of films I have bought, over the years,on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray - I fully expect to be paying for a 4K version when it comes, and for whatever brand name will be given to "directly beaming a film into my head."

I know the film will be exactly the same each time, but I am after the highest quality possible - when I bought my Blu-Ray player in 2010, seven out of the first ten films I bought were already owned on DVD. But those films, like"North by Northwest," Disney's "Fantasia," "Back to the Future" and "Gone With the Wind," were films I knew would look amazing in high definition.

I wanted to be able to watch "The Wizard of Oz" and truly think, "Ow! My eyes! Those colours!" That did happen, but only a bit. I knew that the film, shot in Technicolor, using four strips of film pressed together (red colour, blue, green, and a black-and-white guide) would look truly perfect with the technology available now to line up, remaster and restore these films - showing that the black and white beginning and end of "Oz" is actually a sepia tone, giving the impression of a staid, unmoving, old photograph, making Dorothy's Technicolor journey even more vibrant, the artificial sets made to look more real than real by the unsettling shock of colours.

I was safe in the knowledge that I can watch a seventy-plus year old film in a higher quality than anyone who saw the film when it was new...

However, film can effectively yield up to 11,000 lines of resolution, which is not only a good argument for using film over tape, or other digital storage, but I already know that an even higher quality is around the corner. I either need to save for a 4K television, or buy a cinema.

By the way, I could have reviewed "The Wizard of Oz," but you have all seen it, you all already know it is brilliant, so let's move on...

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