Scenes from The Wizard of Oz Remastered in Brilliant 4K Detail: Behold the Work of a Creative YouTuber

The Wiz­ard of Oz came out more than 80 years ago, but there must still be a few among us who remem­ber see­ing it in the the­ater. Only they would have felt com­plete­ly the pow­er of its famous scene when Dorothy leaves black-and-white Kansas and enters the col­or­ful land of Oz. Much of the pow­er of art comes from con­trast, and this par­tic­u­lar con­trast could hard­ly have been a more per­sua­sive adver­tise­ment for the pow­er of Tech­ni­col­or. After a devel­op­ment his­to­ry of more than twen­ty years, that col­or motion-pic­ture process had by 1939 reached the stage of its tech­no­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion called “Process 4,” which enabled stu­dios to make use of not just some but all of the spec­trum.

This final form of Tech­ni­col­or enrap­tures view­ers even today, repro­duc­ing col­ors as it did at intense, some­times bor­der­line-psy­che­del­ic depths of sat­u­ra­tion. The process found its ide­al mate­r­i­al in the fan­ta­sy of The Wiz­ard of Oz, with its yel­low brick road (choos­ing whose exact shade inspired about a week of delib­er­a­tion at MGM), its ruby slip­pers (cal­cu­lat­ed­ly changed from the sil­ver shoes in L. Frank Baum’s orig­i­nal nov­el), and its host of set­tings and char­ac­ters with great chro­mat­ic poten­tial.

You can appre­ci­ate this un-repeat­ably for­tu­itous inter­sec­tion of con­tent and tech­nol­o­gy again in these scenes from an unof­fi­cial 4K restora­tion of the film post­ed by Youtu­ber Oriel Malik.

This is sure­ly the sharpest and most-detail rich ver­sion of The Wiz­ard of Oz most of us have seen, and, in those respects, it actu­al­ly out­does the orig­i­nal prints of the film. For some the image may actu­al­ly be too clear, mak­ing obvi­ous as it does cer­tain arti­fi­cial-look­ing aspects of the back­grounds and cos­tumes. But in a sense this may not run counter to the inten­tions of the film­mak­ers, who knew full well what genre they were work­ing in: even on film, a musi­cal must retain at least some of the look and feel of the stage. Yet it’s also true that the soft­er visu­al edges of the con­tem­po­rary ana­log print­ing and pro­jec­tion tech­nolo­gies would have enhanced the dream­like atmos­phere cre­at­ed in part by all those sur­re­al­ly vivid hues — which, accord­ing to die-hard Tech­ni­col­or enthu­si­asts, only real­ly come through on film any­way.

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed con­tent:

How Tech­ni­col­or Rev­o­lu­tion­ized Cin­e­ma with Sur­re­al, Elec­tric Col­ors & Changed How We See Our World

The Com­plete Wiz­ard of Oz Series, Avail­able as Free eBooks and Free Audio Books

The Wiz­ard of Oz Bro­ken Apart and Put Back Togeth­er in Alpha­bet­i­cal Order

Dark Side of the Rain­bow: Pink Floyd Meets The Wiz­ard of Oz in One of the Ear­li­est Mash-Ups

Watch the Ear­li­est Sur­viv­ing Filmed Ver­sion of The Wiz­ard of Oz (1910)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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