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The Wiz [1978]

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Director:Sidney Lumet
Writer:Joel Schumacher
Length:134 minutes
(2 hours 14 minutes)
Sorting Category:Fantasy
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Classifications:
  • Fantasy
  • Family
  • Drama
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Synopsis: An adaptation of 'The Wizard of Oz' that tries to capture the essence of the African-American experience.


Personal Rating: ...

Select Cast and Crew
Sidney Lumet => Director
Joel Schumacher => Writer
L. Frank Baum => Novel
William F. Brown => Book
Clyde J. Barrett => Subway Peddler
Diana Ross => Dorothy
Lena Horne => Glinda the Good
Mabel King => Evillene
Michael Jackson => Scarecrow
Nipsey Russell => Tinman
Quincy Jones => Emerald City Gold Pianist (uncredited)
Richard Pryor => The Wiz (Herman Smith)
Stanley Greene => Uncle Henry
Ted Ross => Fleetwood Coupe de Ville / Lion
Thelma Carpenter => Miss One
Theresa Merritt => Aunt Em

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • This was Sidney Lumet's only musical.
  • [?] Jimmie Walker was originally considered for the part of the Scarecrow. He turned it down and the part was given to Michael Jackson.
  • Original director John Badham was fired when he objected to Diana Ross, then 33 years old, being cast as the 14-year-old Dorothy. Though in the movie, her character was changed to a 24-year-old kindergarten school teacher.
  • In his book "Making Movies," Sidney Lumet admits that the filming of the Emerald City Sequence on the plaza at the World Trade Center had to be cut short because of wind and scheduling. The Port Authority would not allow more time to fix the mistakes, the red sequence had to be shortened due to a lighting error, and there was no time to re-shoot.
  • The scene in which the Cowardly Lion emerges from one of the statues in front of the main research branch of the New York Public Library was shot on a set instead of the actual location because it was logistically impossible to film an entire scene devoid of people, save the main actors, without traffic and pedestrians getting in the way of the production.
  • The first song that Michael Jackson sings, {You Can't Win}, was originally written for the stage version for the Winkies to sing to Dorothy about the futility of escaping from Evillene. The song was cut from the stage version of the musical during previews but was included in the film as the Scarecrow's song.
  • Motown Productions bought the rights to the stage show with the intent of having [?] Stephanie Mills reprise the role of Dorothy. However, Diana Ross lobbied intensely for the role. Despite the fact that everyone (including Motown head and former lover [?] Berry Gordy) believed that she, being 13 years older than Mills, was too old, she insisted that the role of Dorothy was ageless. She also said she would be able to guarantee Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow if she was cast.
  • According to her unauthorized biography, "Call Her Ms. Ross," Diana Ross was hospitalized and nearly blinded by a lighting effect used in the movie.
  • In 2003, [Entertainment Weekly] magazine named the film #28 of the 50 Top Cult Movies.
  • Joel Schumacher used his connections in the fashion industry to procure the hundreds of costumes used in the Emerald City sequence.
  • At the time of production, director Sidney Lumet was the son-in-law of Lena Horne (Glinda, the Good Witch).
  • With the May 9 2010 death of Lena Horne, and as of December 2016, Diana Ross (Dorothy) is the last surviving star of the film.
  • In the Emerald City sequence, Quincy Jones is shown as the pianist, but the actual piano player on the soundtrack is [?] Richard Tee.