Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Wiz, The (1978)

Wiz, The (1978)

Sidney Lumet’s schmaltzy all-black disco-flavoured musical version of The Wizard of Oz starred 33-year old Diana Ross as 24-year-old Harlem schoolteacher Dorothy Gale (pictured below).

On her travels along the yellow brick road, Dorothy is befriended by a lion (Ted Ross), a tin man (Nipsey Russell) and a scarecrow, played by old plastic nose himself – Michael Jackson.

The critical pummelling of The Wiz even extended to the soundtrack album which was written and co-produced by Quincy Jones.

But even Judy Garland might have had difficulty recognizing the soporific poppy fields transformed into Poppy Street where ladies of easy virtue peddled cocaine!

Redeeming features were Mabel King’s evil witch, Evilene and her flying monkeys who supplied the showstopper Don’t Bring Me No Bad News, and the glorious Lena Horne appearing at the end as Glinda the Good Witch singing Believe In Yourself.

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Dorothy Gale
Diana Ross
Scarecrow

Michael Jackson
Tin Man

Nipsey Russell
Lion

Ted Ross
The Wiz

Richard Pryor
Eviline the Evil Witch

Mabel King
Glinda the Good Witch

Lena Horne
Aunt Em

Theresa Merritt

Director
Sidney Lumet