"The Wizard of Oz" is celebrating its 50th anniversary at the Avalon Theater, 3605 S. State, and the 50th anniversaries of "Stagecoach" and "Intermezzo" will be celebrated there starting Wednesday.

Along with the Oscar-winning Tom & Jerry cartoon "The Two Mousketeers," "The Wizard of Oz" is being shown with a brand-new print, all its gorgeous color sequences brighter and more dazzling than ever. Also, the opening and closing scenes are tinted instead of the usual black and white. That's the way the director intended the film to be shown, but MGM opted to do black and white because it was cheaper - and the film was quite expensive for its day.What may be surprising to moviegoers who have seen "Wizard" dozens of times, however, is how crisp and clear the images are in 35mm projection, rather than the inevitable softening that occurs with videotape and television broadcasting. If you've never seen "The Wizard of Oz" on the big screen, you're in for a treat.

Two more of the many classic films made in 1939 - "Stagecoach," the great western that made a star of John Wayne, and "Intermezzo," Ingrid Bergman's first American picture - will begin an engagement at the Avalon Wednesday. - Christopher Hicks