Picks and Pans Review: Critic's Choice

updated 11/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

>THE WIZARD OF OZ

The good news: The Wizard of Oz, the fantasy musical first released in 1939, is being reissued in movie theaters for the first time in 25 years. The bad news: The flying monkeys are even scarier on the big screen than they were on your television set.

Other than the vile monkeys, it is pure pleasure to see Oz again and hear its dulcet tunes. The movie has been digitally remastered, cleaning up both the picture and the soundtrack. Thus, Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow" (which was almost cut from the film originally) sounds creamier than ever.

Of the performers, Garland's Dorothy and Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion get better with each viewing. She's wonderfully polite, and Lahr makes every line a small comic masterpiece. So go off to see the Wizard. (G)

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