Superman and Batman aren’t the only icons celebrating 75 years in the pop cultural consciousness as of late. Next year, Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion all join in on the fun as Victor Fleming’s classic of Technicolor cinema, “The Wizard of Oz,” pops the cork on its diamond anniversary. And Warner Bros. plans to celebrate on the biggest screens around.
The studio and IMAX have announced that the Oscar-winning film, which was nominated for Best Picture in the annus mirabilis that was 1939, will be converted to IMAX 3D and re-released for a one-week theatrical run in September, USA Today reports. That’s 11 months shy of the the true anniversary of the film’s August 15, 1939 release, but hey, “Oz: The Great and Powerful” kind of went ahead and got the festivities going early already when it hit theaters back in March.
The USA Today story quotes IMAX Entertainment’s Greg Foster regarding the film’s “explosion of color” upon release. Indeed, the Technicolor process used on the film yielded such a vibrant palette that it’s frequently pointed to as a bellwether in the transition to color filmmaking that wouldn’t really take hold for another two decades. I’ve had the opportunity to see a Technicolor 35mm print of the film projected and it is something to behold.
The restoration will feature digitally enhanced sound, and the 3D will certainly be a new (perhaps sacrilegious to some) way to experience the yellow brick road. No matter how you look at it, the chance for audiences to experience such an endearing classic on the big screen has to be considered a good thing.
The one-week run will begin September 20 in IMAX’s 400 theaters nationwide, including those in museums, according to the report. The film will also receive an anniversary re-release on DVD and Blu-ray on October 1.
“The Wizard of Oz” picked up six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. It won Oscars for Herbert Stothart’s original score and Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg’s classic melody “Over the Rainbow.” Other films nominated for Best Picture included Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” John Ford’s “Stagecoach,” William Wyler’s “Wuthering Heights” and Ernst Lubitsch’s “Ninotchka.” Fleming beat himself for the trophy, though, with another classic: “Gone with the Wind.”