The Wiz (1978)
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 Emerald City. As she goes searching for him, she befriends some creatures who are facing problems in life just as she is. 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.
In this version of the classic story (based on the smash Broadway musical), Dorothy is a shy 24-year-old Harlem kindergarten teacher who is brought by a snowstorm to the mysterious Land of Oz, a sprawling, decaying, nightmarish, and dangerous megalopolis that resembles the physical characteristics of New York City. This retelling of the tale includes various urban settings, extreme sadness and melancholy, and features themes of rising above one's background and the expectations of others.
An adaptation of 'The Wizard of Oz' that tries to capture the essence of the African-American experience.
- A re-imaging of The Wizard of Oz, set against an urban background with an African American cast. Dorothy is a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher from Harlem, who along with her dog Toto are lost in a snowstorm on the night of Thanksgiving and end up in the Land of Oz, which looks like a strangly surreal verison of New York City. Dorothy learns the only way she can get home is to ease on down the road to see the Wiz. Along the way she meets a scarecrow made of garbage who wants a brain; a Tin Man, who is a turn-of-the-century mechanical carnie from Coney Island who wants a heart; and a lion who was banished from the jungle and must make his living as a statue in front of the main research branch of the New York Public Library.