Dorothy, a twenty-four-year-old kindergarten teacher born, raised, and still working in Harlem, is celebrating Thanksgiving with her extended family, but she doesn't seem to be thankful for much in life. She lives a self-imposed sheltered life; she is shy and unfulfilled. Things change for her when she is caught in a snowstorm while chasing after her dog, Toto. They are transported to the mysterious Land of Oz, where she is informed that the only possible way to find her way back home is through the assistance of the powerful wizard in the Emerald City. As she goes searching for him, she befriends some creatures who are facing problems in life just like her. In their quest to find and get help from the wizard, they also face Evillene, the equally evil sister of Evermean, the wicked witch whom Dorothy inadvertently killed when she arrived in Oz, and who may be their biggest obstacle in achieving their goals. Written by
In the scene just after the Cowardly Lion joins the group, all
four of them do a dance that begins with them walking over some taxis, and one of them clearly bounces somewhat, revealing that they're inflatables. See more »
I just watched this for the first time, I've was expecting a true spectacle of "bad" cinema. I was surprised to find there is a decent movie here.
Some people have remarked Diana Ross was too old to play Dorothy, OK, well, so was Judy Garland. True. There's really nothing wrong with this musical--The songs are excellent, performed by some great talents. The production design is spectacular (maybe a little dated, but still something to look at). The sets are a little nightmarish looking, true, but I liked that. I reminded me of "Return of Oz", a favorite of mine too. The real problem with this movie is the damn direction and cinematography.
What were they thinking? The Munchkin scene is not only lit horribly (too dark!), but all the musical numbers seem like they're just comprised of master shots. Very few close ups of dancers, other singers, and even main characters. During the "Ease on Down the Road" number Lumet has us staring at Diana Ross and Michael Jackson's back from far away in the distance for two minutes. It felt like I was watching this movie from the cheap seats. Thus, I always felt distanced from the characters and situations, and just couldn't get into the movie.
I read Sidney Lumet's book "Making Movies" and I remember him writing in detail about shooting to get proper coverage. What happened here?
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