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I saw this film as part of a double feature during a friend's birthday celebrations (held at a cinema) when I was about ten years old. This is the only film to actually give me a headache from the the excruciating boredom. It completely ruined my weekend. It seemed to go on forever, and it is only now, looking at the technical details, I realise that it actually did. As someone with little stomach for black music at the best of times, and no interest in musicals, the endless bursting into song was unbearable. Towards the end, the audience groaned in pain every time Diana Ross started singing. I didn't know back then that you could walk out of a film, and had I known I would have done so well before the halfway mark. After the film the birthday boy was roundly abused for subjecting his friends to such an awful experience. At the time I considered it the worst film ever made. The decades since have done little to change that perception.
This film bombed on its official release for one reason, and for one reason
only--it was rated G. During the seventies, hardly anyone DARED to go see a
G-rated film because it was considered the epitome of uncool. Fortunately,
this film finally went on to gain an impressive audience later on when it
was rediscovered in the wake of Jackson mania and has finally been selling
its worth. Many these days go berserk trying to dissect it due to these
modern "politically correct" times: is it meant to be a spoof, or maybe a
"blaxploitation" film? Hey, forget all that nonsense! Gather your childen,
kick back and enjoy THE WIZ for what it is--the most daringly imaginative
adaptation of the classic children's story ever committed to film.
Roger Ebert, not one of my favorite film critics, surprised me by giving a wonderful (and dead-on accurate) positive review of the film. Some out there think of it as a dated 70s pop/disco/funk/soul feature, but these days that "retro" feel adds to its charm in my opinion--it reminds me of an innocent time from my youth.
I saw this in the theaters as it was first released when I was a child and I've loved it dearly ever since. It has Diana Ross playing Dorothy as a 24-year-old Kindergarten schoolteacher (which I always thought was a charming idea!) with a wide-eyed innocence that is truly touching. Michael Jackson gives a delightfully whimsical performance as the scarecrow, Quincy Jones uses his musical production genius to create a really fantastic and drop-dead gorgeous soundtrack... and in case you're still not convinced, this film is the most expensive movie musical ever made, and WOW, does it ever show! The visuals are imaginative and brilliant, and you'll never forget them.
And best of all, it's been re-released on DVD and the soundtrack on CD! Deservedly so! Now let's all get out there and whoop it up for THE WIZ!
Is this a great movie? Not by any stretch. But I feel it's still a classic (to Black people anyway) because it's the only big budget, major studio all-black movie musical other than Carmen Jones. It's also significant because it marked the end of the black movie boom of the 70's. Who knows what would have happened had this movie been successful (or at least good). Maybe we wouldn't have had to wait until the early 90's for black movies to come back. One thing the film does have going for it is Quincy Jones' music. The soundtrack album is a million times better than the movie. I also think most of the performances (Diana Ross being the one exception) are very good. The problem was the choice of Sidney Lumet as director. Why would someone known for directing gritty, urban dramas want to do a musical? It would have worked better with someone like David Green (Godspell), Bob Fosse (Cabaret), or even Milos Foreman (Hair). The tone of the film was way too dark and depressing for the material. It's also surprisingly vulgar for a G rated film, especially with the Poppy Girl/Hookers. I think today it would earn a PG. I saw this film when it first came out as a kid and still remember how not very much fun the experience was. Still, I saw it several more times because I was hungry for black entertainment of the non-exploitation variety. Now I want to comment on the DVD. The actual movie is seen in a wide screen ratio of 1.85:1, but when the closing credits roll, the screen gets even wider (2.35:1). My guess is that it was shot in 2.35:1, but since most of the scenes in the movie are dark and murky, they figured we wouldn't be able to see anything if it was a wide as it was originally. Just a theory.
I have been watching the WIZ since I was 9 years old, and to this day I still watch it every night. I like that it doesn't give all that fake magical stuff that the wizard of oz gave. It gives you music from beginning to end, it gets you involved in the movie;where you just want to be apart of it. Plus the music was written by the talented Quincy Jones. I can't say that everyone in the world will like it, but just being a Micheal Jackson Fan is enough. I rate this movie number 1 forever. Iam now 28 and I cannot get enough of it. I currently have it on vcr, suppose to get it on DVD but it is always sold out. For everyone one that didn't like the movie I am sorry that you don't get the satisfaction of loving this wonderful movie.
I love this movie, This movie have the best music ever to be done in a
I own it on DVD and remember viewing this movie as a child. Quicy Jones III has out done his self. I think that is movie was better then the original movie filmed for whites. This movie was written and produced to reflect the African American Community, and for that I great this movie one on the best black movies to date. Other great movies are; The Best Man, The Wood , Coming to America , Foxy Brown and School Daze.
We are making great films, for our new generation.
The Wiz offers wonderful and unique musical numbers, also, the costume designer should be bowed to. However, my large problem with this film was Diana Ross, she is horrible. Every time she does a solo musical number I just wanted to turn the film off, her voice is weak in this movie and rather shrill. What kept me watching was Michael Jackson, he truly lights up the screen as the scarecrow. He is a wonderful singer/dancer and has the required charisma. All in all, this movie is worth watching because of everyone but Diana Ross and the wonderful costumes and songs.
I remember watching this movie for the first time on television when I was a five year old child. This movie was great then and it is still great today. Why did they have Diane Ross play Dorothy? She was already 34 years old when she played in the movie! She does not have close to the vocal range that Stephanie Mills has! This movie had Michael Jackson (when he still acted black!), Nipsey Russell (before he did that short lived game show), and Ted Lange (the first season dean on A Different World.) This movie also had the late Mabel King and the mother from "That's My Mama." Believe it or not, this was the last motion picture that Lena Horne appeared in. Why did she stop acting? You can see a serious side of Richard Pryor in this movie. This movie should have won an Academy Award in 1978!
Normally I do not feel it necessary to reply to things that annoy me, but
this is one of the few times I feel it is necessary to reply. I do not know
who is responsible for writing information on an individual's biography, but
the comments made under the bio for Theresa Merritt really turned my stomach
regarding using and recommending your website to my friends and
In this bio for Theresa Merritt, you state and I quote, `Played Aunt Em to Diana Ross's full-grown Dorothy in the misguided film The Wiz in 1979.' I do not understand where you get off stating this movie was misguided, especially considering the fact that if you compare it to the so called classic, The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, in my opinion, on it's own is a much better movie. First off, the music was a hell of a lot better not to mention the dance numbers and choreography. The dance numbers for the Wiz had style and a level of sophistication about it that the Wizard of Oz did not due to every dance number involving individuals prancing around like fairies telling everyone they were off to see the wizard.
Unlike The Wizard Of Oz, The Wiz has music in it that, when I listen too it, I can listen and really enjoy myself because I can feel that what I am listening too is worth the time and effort. I can listen to the music and visualize what is happening in the scene. I can listen to the soundtrack and feel energized, especially during the Emerald City Sequence, the song titled Brand New Day and Lena Horne's reprise of Believe in Yourself, which is the song that pushed this movie to my number one movie made based off a Broadway play.
Once the Wiz was over, you saw the characters develop a step further because it was shown that they had the abilities they were looking for all along. Not like the Wizard of Oz where once the wizard was discovered to be a fake, he hands out some trinkets and now the Scarecrow has intelligence because he received a diploma, the Tinman a heart because he received a heart shaped watch and the Lion some courage because he receives a badge. College students receive diplomas all the time but that does not make them intelligent, especially if it is given to them just to please them and avoid a butt kicking which is what the wizard was facing. And you can have all the heart shaped watches and badges all you want, but if it is not in you, you don't have it, and I didn't see where they had it or how they explained they gained it.
The Wiz was a film that had everything in it that the Wizard of Oz didn't. A purpose. At the end of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wakes up and she is home and now she might have a different perspective on life. In the Wiz, we see that Dorothy definitely has a new perspective on life and the direction she is going to take. And not only does she have that perspective, but we see that her friends too have a new perspective and outlook on life. The characters have changed from what we saw of them earlier in the film. And by watching their progression, it helps ones who might feel that they have no purpose to look inside themselves and find what it is they need to change that, which is what we see in regards to the Wizard who eventually asks Dorothy for help.
As far as I am concerned, The Wizard of Oz was a misguided effort at film making because it was basically made for the time period where musicals were often campy and flaky, and I have low tolerance for movies of this nature because I feel they insult my intelligence. It is not just the Wizard of Oz that does this, but many films made in that era because everything was so romanticized. The Wizard of Oz could have been made a bit more serious and still maintain the musical comedy needed and I know this because other movies made around the same time period were, such as Gone With The Wind and Citizen Kane. Although these movies were dramatic, they were still able to maintain a level of humor and this is seen in musicals made after the Wizard of Oz, such as West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and most recently, Chicago.
The only thing I can say was misguided about the Wiz is the fact that Diana Ross was cast to play Dorothy, and I only say this because I can't stand Diana Ross. Regarding your site, I feel that it was misguided for your site to make derogatory comments about a film that was put together very well. And now that I have said what I needed to say about this movie and the comment that I read on your site, I am going to place my final post and bid The Internet Movie Database good bye.
This movie is the most pathetic thing i have ever heard of. Think about it, they took one of the best movies of all time and basically ruined it. If someone took a movie with mostly black people or all black people in it and turned it into a white version of it then white people would be called a racist but black people can turn a movie with all white people in it into a version with all black people in it and everyone is fine with it. I think that its really sad when a movie is made on purpose with only black or white people in it and especially when they take a masterpiece and ruin it. If you like or even love the original never never ever see this movie, its extremely disappointing.
In 1978 this may have been a dead-on depiction of black urban life but 25 years later in just seems dated and silly. The score was pretty good, Diana Ross is decades too old and watching Michael Jackson in anything these days makes me sad, even though he hadn't yet flipped out publicly when this was made. Pity. I really used to like him.
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