Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Wonderful Wizard of 3-D

The Wizard of Oz, the great Technicolor triumph of 1939 that has turned generations of children into followers (as well as many a studio executive mighty rich on behalf of the original source having entered the public domain), will return to cinemas for a one-week IMAX engagement in 3-D this September.  It's all a part of that will be another epic year in the land of Oz, and next year the beloved film will be celebrating it's 75th Anniversary...come to think of it, it's also the landmark anniversary of Gone With the Wind, Gunga Din, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Babes in Arms, The Women, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Ninotchka, Stagecoach and Wuthering Heights.  Whoa, holy cinema brain freeze...anyway...off topic, The Wizard of Oz and the majesty of the Emerald City will be converted to the third dimension to kick off the celebration.  Of which brings about a sort of mixed blessing.  Surely, this pandering of the 3-D surcharges and (potential) debasing of classic films goes against the idea of a sacred film history, one in which classics are restored but presented to fit their original glory.  Doing this service to films like Titanic and the Star Wars prequels and The Lion King is one thing-- for instance, the proprietors behind these properties are well known whores.  Then again, if this silly gimmick can bring back some more classic films to play in actual movie stadiums, perhaps that's just the most wonderful packaging for something that reads as pure greediness and grubbiness.

The Wizard of Oz, at least in theory, with it's colors and bedazzlement may indeed be perfectly complimentary as filtered through those silly (and, ahem, expensive) glasses.  A sequence as magnificently calibrated as Dorothy opening that to a whirlwind of color is perhaps one of the few truly indelible images in American cinema that continues to amaze, allure and charm any audience that happens to watch it...be it for the first, or the several hundredth time.  In the very least, it might just be the thing to wash away the undisguised manufactured shilling that was Oz: The Great & Powerful. What classic movies do you think are worthy of the 3-D treatment?

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