Be off to see the wonderful 'Wizard' Re-releases: The 1939 classic never looked or sounded better.

November 06, 1998|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC

This critic usually looks upon re-releases with a decidedly skeptical eye, the recent recycling of "Gone With the Wind" and today's re-arrival of "The Big Chill" being just two examples. But filmgoers are hereby ordered not to miss the re-release of "The Wizard of Oz," the 1939 classic that is being trotted out a few months shy of its 60th birthday to whet DVD and video appetites.

Its mercenary provenance notwithstanding, this re-tooling of "The Wizard of Oz" is actually worth the trip, with its Technicolor VTC glory having been digitally restored, resulting in eye-popping color and revealing detail. What's more, the sound has been re-mastered, so that the wonderful lyrics sung by Judy Garland, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Ray Bolger are crystal-clear.

A tip: Go out of your way to see "The Wizard of Oz" at the Senator Theatre. The Baltimore landmark -- which showed "The Wizard of Oz" during its inaugural year in 1939 -- has one of 50 full-frame, dye-transferred prints of this beloved national treasure.

Set piece

The design department of Barry Levinson's "Liberty Heights" received the supreme compliment of being served with legal papers last week when the set they created of the Block circa 1954 was visited by city officials.

According to Vincent Jackson, a security guard at the office building at 217 E. Redwood (which served as a hotel during the filming), a city inspector arrived Wednesday afternoon asking about the "new" Two O'Clock Club next door.

"He came in with papers, trying to get into the building next door because he found out the Block was expanding," Jackson recalled. "He had no idea there had been a movie down here the day before. I had to tell him it was in the paper and on TV."

Speaking of "Liberty Heights," the production needs "500 screaming James Brown fans" for a coming scene. Five-hundred extras are needed to play fans at a 1950s J.B. concert in Baltimore.

The filmmakers are looking for 500 African-Americans, 200 to be core extras for the closer shots (these volunteers will have to be fitted for costumes), between the ages of 18 and 35. Be aware that because of the time period, facial hair, as well as fades, dreadlocks and other modern hairstyles, are inappropriate.

The extras will be needed on Nov. 17; core extras will also need to be on hand Nov. 16 and Nov. 19. Filming on the 17th will take place in Frederick. Bus transportation, food, drink, prizes and community-service hours will be available. For more information, call 410-659-0330

Independents' day

Baltimore filmmakers James V. McCabe and Judith Goldstein will show their short comedy "Who You Know" at the "Baltimore Is Independent" Film Festival on Thursday at the Senator.

The festival, a benefit for the Bea Gaddy Breast Cancer Outreach Program, will feature a program of Baltimore-produced films, including Joy Lusco and Scott Kecken's award-winning short drama "Louisville"; "Entrepose," an experimental film in the Coen Brothers-David Lynch tradition by Matt Pitroff, Jeff Schmale and Jason Hubert that took honors at this year's Rosebud Film Festival; Skizz Cyzyk and Lillian Bowers' "Little Castles," a terrific short documentary about the whys and wherefores of Formstone; and a series of animated works by the always ingenious Martha Colburn. Tickets are available for $25 from ProTix and the Senator box office. Call ProTix at 800-955-5566.

Fest at the beach

The first-ever Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival unspools beginning Nov. 12. The acclaimed and award-winning drama "Smoke Signals" will be shown, along with Melvin Van Peebles' "Classified X," the seminal director's documentary about African-Americans in film, and three films from Mexico and Cuba. Call 302-226-3744.

Pub Date: 11/06/98

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