Tag: Gone with the Wind (Page 2 of 2)

Blu Tuesday: The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition

When it comes to movie classics, there is none more beloved than Victor Fleming’s 1939 musical, “The Wizard of Oz.” Based on the popular children’s book by L. Frank Baum, the film has been featured on numerous “best of” lists and continues to captivate people of all ages to this day. In celebration of its 70th anniversary, Warner Home Video is releasing the movie for the very first time in high definition in a special collector’s set designed exclusively for the hardcore “Oz” fan. This four-disc box set includes over 16 hours of bonus material, a 52-page commemorative book about the making of the film, a reproduction of the original 1939 campaign book, a replica of the film’s budget sheet, and a limited edition watch.

Of course, the main draw of the set is the film itself, and while many have logged complaints about the film’s new hi-def transfer following the one-night special engagement in theaters across the country, there’s no truth behind any of them. Though a movie as old as “The Wizard of Oz” is never going to look as pristine as one from the last decade, the hours of work that went into restoring the film for its Blu-ray debut can be appreciated the minute Leo the MGM Lion comes on screen. It’s not perfect, mind you, but when compared to the many reissues over the years, this version is hands down the best one yet. Colors pop off the screen without looking oversaturated, while the sepia-toned segments look sharper than ever.

As expected with a movie as legendary as “The Wizard of Oz,” Warner Bros. has crammed as many special features onto the four-disc set as possible — to the point that it’s almost overkill. Granted, one of those discs only contains a digital copy of the film, but the other three more than make up for it. Disc One features the movie, as well as a new audio commentary by “Oz” historian John Fricke and a sing-along track. The previously released TV special, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic,” hosted by Angela Lansbury also appears, as do featurettes on music, costumes and production design (“The Art of Imagination”) and the legacy of the film (“Because of the Wonderful Things It Does”).

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A visit with “Brothers”

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I’m no Hollywood insider. Nikki Finke does not rely on me for her tips and I don’t ever expect to attend the Vanity Fair Oscar after party. Nevertheless, there’s one thing I do know about show business: personality goes a very long way in “this town.” And so a few of us press people recently found ourselves the subject of a 50 megaton charm offensive by the four stars of the new Fox sitcom, “Brothers” — C.C.H. Pounder, Carl Weathers, and Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, and one extremely enthusiastic newbie, former New York Giants Defensive End and Fox Sports commentator Michael Strahan. I haven’t seen the show itself yet, which premieres tonight at 8 p.m./7 central, but the visit was certainly a performance I won’t be forgetting.

From long-time writer-producer Don Reo, whose credits run from “M*A*S*H” to “Blossom” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Brothers” stars Strahan as a former NFL star who winds up moving in to the house he bought for his parents when a financial reversal puts him in the metaphorical poorhouse. Since this is a sitcom, naturally there will be conflict with his brother, played by Mitchell, and the usual issues with parents Weathers and Pounder. One ace the show will be playing will be guest appearances by some fairly big names playing themselves, including former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, hip-hop star T-Pain, celubutante Kim Kardashian, and the great Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band. Also appearing will be well actress Tichina Arnold from “Chris” and, not playing himself, rap superstar Snoop Dog. Stand-up comic Lenny Clarke will be playing a neighbor on the show.

The show has been getting some additional attention for a perhaps less fortunate reason, in that while African-American actors are featured in more diverse roles these days, it’s the only current show on the networks schedules with a predominantly black cast. That’s largely a reversal of the trend of the past when the vast bulk of decent TV parts for nonwhite actors were on shows like “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” as well as some of the later, more controversial shows aimed at black audiences like “Martin.”

The first to meet the press were Carl Weathers, perhaps still most famed as Rocky Balboa’s venerable opponent, Apollo Creed, and C.C.H. Pounder, who is taking a break from her usual intense, gravitas-laden, roles on shows like “The Shield” and seems to be enjoying every minute of it. In fact, I’m here to tell you that extremely skilled Ms. Pounder is downright bubbly in person. You heard me, “bubbly” — but in a very smart sort of way.

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The mood was light right off the bat with more than one of us entertainment journos confessing a complete lack of knowledge of sports and Ms. Pounder joining in. Weathers was the exception. “Well, I played for the Oakland Raiders so I hope I know a little bit about football.” And that somehow prompted an impersonation of Butterfly McQueen from “Gone with the Wind” from Pounder. I guess you had to be there.

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