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Return To Oz [1985] (1 disc)

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Director:Walter Murch
Writer:Gill Dennis
Walter Murch
Composer:David Shire
Length:110 minutes
(1 hour 50 minutes)
MPAA Rating:PG
Sorting Category:Fantasy
IMDB Rating:6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:58%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Classifications:
  • Fantasy
  • Kids
  • Family
  • Puppets
  • Action
  • Stop Motion
Available Formats:
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Synopsis: Dorothy is taken to a hospital to help her forget her experience in that imaginary world of Oz, but instead, ends up in Oz once more, this time fighting wheelers, a witch, and a stone-cold king.


Reaction: Don't expect the same kind of movie as "The Wizard of Oz". This one is meant to capture the tone of the books and is intended as only a cursory sequel to the original. There is plenty of imagination here and kids should love it.


Personal Rating: 8/10

Select Cast and Crew
Walter Murch => Director / Writer
Gill Dennis => Writer
David Shire => Composer
Gary Kurtz => Executive Producer
L. Frank Baum => Novels 'Ozma of Oz' and 'The Land of Oz'
Brian Henson => Jack Pumpkinhead (voice)
Colin Skeaping => Wheeler
Deep Roy => Tin Man
Denise Bryer => Billina (voice)
Emma Ridley => Ozma
Fairuza Balk => Dorothy
Fiona Victory => Mombi III
Jean Marsh => Nurse Wilson / Mombi
John Alexander => Wheeler / Cowardly Lion
Justin Case => Scarecrow
Lyle Conway => Gump (voice)
Mak Wilson => Billina
Matt Clark => Uncle Henry
Michael Sundin => Tik-Tok
Nicol Williamson => Dr. Worley / The Nome King
Peter Elliott => Wheeler
Piper Laurie => Aunt Em
Pons Maar => Lead Wheeler / Nome Messenger
Sean Barrett => Tik-Tok (voice)
Sophie Ward => Mombi II
Stephen Norrington => Gump (as Steve Norrington)
Stewart Larange => Jack Pumpkinhead
Tansy => Toto
Tim Rose => Tik-Tok

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • Fairuza Balk did all her own stunts.
  • While filming the sequence near the end of film where Dorothy rides atop the Cowardly Lion, actress Fairuza Balk became so overwhelmed by the temperature that she passed out on the sound stage.
  • Originally the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion were to have more prominent roles in this film, however, budget cuts forced their appearances to be reduced to mere cameos.
  • In order to include the ruby slippers as part of this film, Disney had to pay royalties to MGM, the studio which had produced The Wizard of Oz. The ruby slippers did not appear in the original novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; they were invented for the 1939 film to better take advantage of the newly developed Technicolor process. Interestingly enough, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wore a pair of magical silver shoes which were actually destroyed when she used them to return to Kansas. In the subsequent novel Ozma of Oz, one of the books on which this film is based, Dorothy and her friends meet the Nome King who possesses a magical belt with properties similar to those of the silver shoes. Early drafts of the script for Return to Oz reflect this, with the Nome King possessing a magical ruby belt which had been created from the ruby slippers.
  • A gymnast stood upside-down (with legs bent) inside Tik-Tok's body to move the legs.
  • Pons Maar who plays the Lead Wheeler, one of the asylum orderlies, and provides the voice of the Nome Messenger also served as a movement coach on the film, working to develop the postures and movements of the Scarecrow and Jack Pumpkinhead.
  • To create the stop-motion puppets of the nomes, Nicol Williamson and Pons Maar were photographed against a background grid. Will Vinton then watched the footage frame by frame and manipulated the puppets based on the movements and expressions of the actors.
  • Emma Ridley, who plays Ozma, also auditioned for the role of Dorothy.
  • The Scarecrow was originally supposed to have a fully articulated animatronic face, akin to that of the Gump, however budget cuts forced the puppeteers to reduce his face to a series of masks with fixed expressions.
  • Fairuza Balk actually performed most of the film barefoot, as she found her black shoes uncomfortable, and the ruby slippers were very fragile and easily damaged. Thus, the actress only wore shoes when they would be visible on camera.