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  1. #1

    The Wiz Revisited

    I recently bought a dvd of The Wiz having not seen the complete film for over twenty years and watched it last night. It was in fact a little better then i remember it being when first released....just a little though..
    For me one of the main ingredients missing from the film was any real sense of magic.
    There are no great special effects to lift the film and create an atmosphere of wonder. The snow storm where Dorothy is whisked off to Oz is completly anticlimatic. The poppy girls scene also a huge disappointment as Dorothy and Lion end up lying on the roof in a drugged sleep and thats it.
    On the plus side the music is wonderful, the cast do there best and some scenes are quite touching.
    I was wondering how others felt about the film now in 2018 without seeing this as an opportunity to pull Diana apart about her age and the Stephanie Mills saga that has been totally done to death.
    Last edited by Ollie9; 06-08-2018 at 12:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Although I can say that I somewhat enjoy The Wiz, I must say the major let down for me is the cinematography which for me, even back when it was released, was rather dismal. I expected the scenes to be more vibrant. Yes, I understand the setting was New York City and all that, and it's probably just a personal gripe of mine. I have the same issue with many of the movies that are coming out today in which I jokingly say to myself, "Can't these folk in these scenes at their homes afford a higher wattage light bulb?"

    The actors themselves are spectacular in their roles. My favorite sequence is the "Brand New Day" scene. It sounded so vibrant in the theater. Diana Ross' rendition of "Home" was mesmerizing to me. Although it has probably been discussed here, it appears she is actually singing live on this song and that it's all in one camera take.

    All in all, in my opinion, it's still an OK film with an OUTSTANDING soundtrack.

    I do love the recent release of the music project where Diana Ross is singing most of the songs (solo) from the Wiz, and the many voices she was able to portray in her vocals.

  3. #3
    I agree that it's not hideous but certainly far from good. much less great

    i think a few problems might be:

    1. lack of exciting special effects - that's a good point Ollie
    2. plods along - these are LONG song segments and there's an overall lack of forward movement. they could have tighened up a bunch of the songs and scenes to make them move along quicker
    3. poor cinematography - for the entire first Ease On Down segment you're pretty much stuck in a giant wide shot and only seeing the backs of michael and dorothy. that makes the viewer feel completely disconnected with the scene. it's like i'm someone on a building 18blocks away watching something. i'm not being brought in
    4. diana - she's wrong wrong wrong!! too old, too whiney, too serious. this is a musical fantasy and should be fun. she's playing it like it's MacBeth

  4. #4
    I love it and I usually try to watch it around Thanksgiving every year but for some reason have failed to do so the last few years. As a child all of us children loved this and talked about it way more than the original Oz. The original I'm not a big fan of. I think what attracts me to The Wiz today (as a child the biggest attraction was Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, in that order) is the music. It's not a movie that relies heavily on dialogue, obviously being a musical, and I find the musical numbers fantastic. So much great singing and music production. My favorite scene is "Brand New Day". It's perfect as far as I'm concerned.

    To the criticism of Ross as Dorothy, while I understand it from a "purist" perspective (both of the original film and the Broadway version), I also view the movie as a separate work apart from both the original Oz and the Broadway play. The movie was someone's else's art, which meant someone else's vision and interpretation. While people argue that the story should be about a young girl, I personally think changing the story to that of a young woman afraid to make her own way in the world, is just as viable, considering how many young adults- many straight out of college- are affected by that fear. But I do know that audiences often have a hard time viewing "entertainment art" as an interpretative expression and thus are bound to thumb it down simply because it wasn't what they thought it should be, based on what proceeded it.

    But in my book The Wiz will always be a great work from start to finish.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    I do love the recent release of the music project where Diana Ross is singing most of the songs (solo) from the Wiz, and the many voices she was able to portray in her vocals.
    It has it's moments ("Feeling We Once Had", "Wonder, Wonder Why" she is particularly in great form), but I don't care much for her doing the different voices. I'm also annoyed that she put "You Can't Win" in a medley rather than do the whole song. I always thought she would've sounded great singing it. And I hope one of these days that there's announcement that her version of "What Would I Do If I Could Feel" has been found. I find it hard to believe she recorded all those other songs but not that one.

  6. #6
    I haven't seen the Wiz yet, but I really want to. But I wonder, the main gripe about Diana Ross being too old to play Dorothy.... is that a fair criticism do you think, people who have seen it? Myself, I like stories about adults in states of arrested development "coming of age" eventually and growing up after being taken out of their comfort zone. I like the idea of Dorothy being reimagined as a childlike, emotionally dependent thirty something woman who is forced to grow up in Oz. As someone who had a very controlling family who did everything they could to make me emotionally dependent on them and would constantly try to squash any attempts I made at challenging learned helplessness and becoming independent, this imagining of Dorothy resonates with me. It's like the Wiz is Dorothy ploughing through one hell of a quarter life crisis. It's like the Graduate, but with better drugs!

    Also I think Diana in the Wiz is Diana at the height of her physical beauty, from what I've seen. She looks sublime!
    Last edited by Coppelia-Birdsong; 06-08-2018 at 02:38 PM.

  7. #7
    She was only 34 or something like that when she filmed this movie. People act like she was a 55 year old woman trying to play a 24 year old. There is a reason why she sang ďease on down the roadĒ when she was honored at the AMAís last year. To the younger generation this is all they know about Diana Ross. Brilliant decision to sing it. I do agree with those that say it was filmed too dark and not enough special effects. Iíd like to add the fact that they should have, and didnít show more scenes with the wicked witch. Oddly enough I watched part of the wizard of oz on TCM last night. My favorite scenes were those with the witch. The Wiz lacked this. The Wiz is glorious in my opinion because it truly showcased black talent, from the stars to the dancers and musicians. Top notch. By the way, those in NYC, they will play The Wiz in Bryant park this summer.
    http://www.playbill.com/article/brya...bride-and-more

  8. #8
    A real joy to read such great comments.
    I think there is frightened Dorothy in all of us, buried beneath the confident, capable persona we present to the real world.
    I was always miffed one of my favourite songs from the soundtrack "Is This What Feeling Gets" was cut from the film. It's such a lovely song with expressive lyrics helping the audience understand Dorothys inner turmoil.
    I agree with sup_fan that there are a lot of scenes that needed to be tightened up. A fairly brutal re-edit might have made room for that wonderful song.
    Last edited by Ollie9; 06-08-2018 at 03:22 PM.

  9. #9
    I'm sorry to say this but I have never managed to get through the entire film! I find the performances / casting lovely and the score is killer (I also love the Diana Sings Songs From ...) but I agree about the lack of 'magic' in the film. It's a directorial failure, I find. It's just a visually ugly, cheap looking movie despite its star power; there's something about the cinematography that makes every scene look somehow 'squashed'. I loved the musical (saw it with Stephanie). I have not yet seen the televised version but want to.

  10. #10
    I never thought it was a very strong movie

    But itís amazing how popular it is and how itís grown in stature over time, I gather most of all in the black community

    I think itís Dianas most popular movie other than to us fans

  11. #11
    yes you are right , i also founded similar things you mentioned.

  12. #12
    It was bad then, it is bad now. We all kind of knew it would be when they announced that Diana Ross would be in the role of Dorothy in 1977. I am sure Stephanie Mills is still smiling in the afterglow.........LOL!

  13. #13
    I saw the Wiz when originally released and the ONLY good thing about it were Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and the other actors such as Nipsy Russell.I have not seen it since.

  14. #14
    Hereís an interesting review

    https://youtu.be/_IVW7CGwKSI

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    It was bad then, it is bad now. We all kind of knew it would be when they announced that Diana Ross would be in the role of Dorothy in 1977. I am sure Stephanie Mills is still smiling in the afterglow.........LOL!
    I dont think so. Stephanie Mills is a good person who doesnt harbor grudges like you do and unlike you Miss Mills actually knows Miss Ross and has a nice healthy life outside of all things related to Diane Ross.

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=Roberta75;462544]I dont think so. Stephanie Mills is a good person who doesnt harbor grudges like you do and unlike you Miss Mills actually knows Miss Ross and has a nice healthy life outside of all things related to Diane Ross.[/QUOTE

    bravo bravo

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    It was bad then, it is bad now. We all kind of knew it would be when they announced that Diana Ross would be in the role of Dorothy in 1977. I am sure Stephanie Mills is still smiling in the afterglow.........LOL!
    Why would Stephanie be smiling cuz the movie stinks? Do you think she’s a petty, childish, vindictive brat that basks in the glow of other’s misfortune? I would guess not........I doubt it. She’s had lots of misfires in her career and I doubt very much she finds those worth smiling about either. These artists put themselves out there for public scrutiny and understand the highs and lows........

  18. #18
    Sorry, Ollie9, for the apparent disregard by some of bringing up another celebrity's name.

    One more thing I recall about The Wiz soundtrack. In some liner notes or other press that was coming out at the time of the soundtrack's release, I recall Quincy saying that Diana was pretty much being put out of her comfort zone for the vocal range required for many of the musical numbers.

    And something else about the movie itself...Most of the fans of the movie and Diana Ross are aware that she suffered some eye damage from looking at the light when meeting the Wiz. Some sources say it was temporary damage; others say she still has some issues because of it.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    Sorry, Ollie9, for the apparent disregard by some of bringing up another celebrity's name.

    One more thing I recall about The Wiz soundtrack. In some liner notes or other press that was coming out at the time of the soundtrack's release, I recall Quincy saying that Diana was pretty much being put out of her comfort zone for the vocal range required for many of the musical numbers.

    And something else about the movie itself...Most of the fans of the movie and Diana Ross are aware that she suffered some eye damage from looking at the light when meeting the Wiz. Some sources say it was temporary damage; others say she still has some issues because of it.
    I think THE WIZ is a good film, but it is not one I make a point of watching. But if I come across it while channel surfing, I'll pop in and out of it if one of my favorite scenes is coming up, like the A BRAND NEW DAY segment, Lena Horne's cameo, or Diana's finale of HOME.

    In the booklet that came with the soundtrack album, Quincy said was Diana was singing "a minor third higher that she's ever sung in her life." Listening to the vocals on it and later those on her THE BOSS album, Diana certainly did seem to be extending her vocal range and power.

    Re her eyes, I have read that there were some really anxious moments when it came to her sight. I think she is still very sensitive to light and she mentioned in her book that there is still a spot in her eye that is dark.

  20. #20
    1. The movie was kind of boring
    2. Diana's hair and teeth looked bad. They tried too hard to unglamorize her.
    3. Michael looked horrible

    The film was boring, and the stars were unappealing to look at ...... hmmmmmm

    (I remember Dionne Warwick saying she could see yellow armpit stains in Dorthy's white dress.)

    BTW, The Wiz is one of the films being shown outside in Bryant Park, NYC, this summer.
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 06-09-2018 at 09:12 AM.

  21. #21
    Diana Ross has not been a theatrically released film since.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Diana Ross has not been a theatrically released film since.
    I think that is because SHE only wanted to do hugely expensive films, and not do smaller important ones. A business woman she is not.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    I think that is because SHE only wanted to do hugely expensive films, and not do smaller important ones. A business woman she is not.
    She should have done "The Bodyguard". Whitney did and the rest is history......

  24. #24
    And we all know what happened to Whitney.....

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by jack020 View Post
    And we all know what happened to Whitney.....
    She died? That's going to happen to everyone so don't go bragging.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by jack020 View Post
    And we all know what happened to Whitney.....
    Her recording of "I Will Always Love You" from the soundtrack to "The Bodyguard" went on to top 13 Charts in more than 10 countries simultaneously. The single probably outsold all of Diana Ross singles combined!

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by jack020 View Post
    And we all know what happened to Whitney.....
    Houston's single was also an international success, peaking at number one of the singles charts in almost all countries! What was the songs from "The Wiz" that went to number one......anywhere? LOL!!!!

  28. #28
    I thought there was an agreement not to go after forum members personally? Obviously one person acting out again. Sadly ignore button has its limitations... but we can hope.
    Last edited by luke; 06-09-2018 at 01:18 PM.

  29. #29
    Although "The Wiz" was a complete BOMB, there were three scenes from the movie that were pretty good and memorable"

    1. Nipsey Russell's mournful "If I Could Feel" as the Tinman in the deserted carnival yard.
    2. Michael Jackson's soulful "You Can't Win" backed up by the Scarecrows
    3. Lena Horne's near show stopper "If You Believe" looking every inch like legendary star she was and the little babies all around her.

  30. #30
    Even the costumes sucked.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    She died? That's going to happen to everyone so don't go bragging.
    Yes you are right everyone is going to die. But the difference is Whitney died very tragically. And way too young.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Even the costumes sucked.
    Totally! The ending with that ghastly close up of Diana Ross screaming out the lyrics to "Home", the veins in her neck looking like they were about to explode caused some to get right up and walk out of the theater. We stayed until the very bitter end. LOL!!!

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by vgalindo View Post
    Yes you are right everyone is going to die. But the difference is Whitney died very tragically. And way too young.
    All death is tragic to the surviving loved ones. No matter what the age of the deceased.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    All death is tragic to the surviving loved ones. No matter what the age of the deceased.
    You really don't get the point! Yes every death is tragic to the family. But I said she died very tragically. There is a difference!

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by vgalindo View Post
    You really don't get the point! Yes every death is tragic to the family. But I said she died very tragically. There is a difference!
    I get what I know and that is all that is important here to me. I have never been into ranking deaths of people based on YOUR criteria of what is tragic!

  36. #36
    I don't think this is a good movie so I wonder why it keeps being shown on so many channels, why it's a cult classic, why it has a DVD release etc. and why it's Diana's most popular movie when others like Out of Darkness and Lady Sings the Blues were so much better.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    I don't think this is a good movie so I wonder why it keeps being shown on so many channels, why it's a cult classic, why it has a DVD release etc. and why it's Diana's most popular movie when others like Out of Darkness and Lady Sings the Blues were so much better.
    It is because of Michael Jackson and it being his first film. He was the greatest star and people want any and everything he did. Has nothing to do with wanting to see "Diana ross" LOL! FACTS!

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Totally! The ending with that ghastly close up of Diana Ross screaming out the lyrics to "Home", the veins in her neck looking like they were about to explode caused some to get right up and walk out of the theater. We stayed until the very bitter end. LOL!!!
    Yeah.......and youve watched that close up scene with Diane singing home a 100 times and probably lip synced to it with your hairbrush as a mic another 100 times.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I thought there was an agreement not to go after forum members personally? Obviously one person acting out again. Sadly ignore button has its limitations... but we can hope.
    I know but its in your BFF's DNA to attack but you alread know that.

  40. #40
    The Wiz just came on TV. Saw the original Wizard of Oz on Friday night and now The Wiz all in one weekend.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    I'm sorry to say this but I have never managed to get through the entire film! I find the performances / casting lovely and the score is killer (I also love the Diana Sings Songs From ...) but I agree about the lack of 'magic' in the film. It's a directorial failure, I find. It's just a visually ugly, cheap looking movie despite its star power; there's something about the cinematography that makes every scene look somehow 'squashed'. I loved the musical (saw it with Stephanie). I have not yet seen the televised version but want to.
    Totally agree. The music is sublime, but i have never managed to sit through the whole film despite many attempts. It is truly awful, yet Diana and MJ are two of my all time favourite performers. Go figure.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I love it and I usually try to watch it around Thanksgiving every year but for some reason have failed to do so the last few years. As a child all of us children loved this and talked about it way more than the original Oz. The original I'm not a big fan of. I think what attracts me to The Wiz today (as a child the biggest attraction was Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, in that order) is the music. It's not a movie that relies heavily on dialogue, obviously being a musical, and I find the musical numbers fantastic. So much great singing and music production. My favorite scene is "Brand New Day". It's perfect as far as I'm concerned.

    To the criticism of Ross as Dorothy, while I understand it from a "purist" perspective (both of the original film and the Broadway version), I also view the movie as a separate work apart from both the original Oz and the Broadway play. The movie was someone's else's art, which meant someone else's vision and interpretation. While people argue that the story should be about a young girl, I personally think changing the story to that of a young woman afraid to make her own way in the world, is just as viable, considering how many young adults- many straight out of college- are affected by that fear. But I do know that audiences often have a hard time viewing "entertainment art" as an interpretative expression and thus are bound to thumb it down simply because it wasn't what they thought it should be, based on what proceeded it.

    But in my book The Wiz will always be a great work from start to finish.
    Interesting and insightful comments RanRan79.
    I agree with everything you say except The Wiz being a great work from start to finish. The music yes, the film no.
    Viewing the film forty years after its first release the passing years for me have added enchantment to the view. It still has many flaws, but there is also a lot to enjoy as well.
    The Brand New Day sequence being my favourite, Dororthys arrival in Oz being my least. It took a long time but the Wiz finally found it's audience and has gone on to become a cult classic.....

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Interesting and insightful comments RanRan79.
    I agree with everything you say except The Wiz being a great work from start to finish. The music yes, the film no.
    Viewing the film forty years after its first release the passing years for me have added enchantment to the view. It still has many flaws, but there is also a lot to enjoy as well.
    The Brand New Day sequence being my favourite, Dororthys arrival in Oz being my least. It took a long time but the Wiz finally found it's audience and has gone on to become a cult classic.....
    Yeah, I imagine it could've been better in some ways. (I do agree with those who say it's too dark.) But any of it's shortcomings aren't big enough to knock it down in my book. I get the feeling that the movie is knocked mostly by folks who grew up with only the Wizard of Oz and is mostly beloved by folks who grew up with both movies. I get the feeling also that it may have been more popular with African American children who grew up with it. I remember it coming on television once when I was seven or eight. The next day at school that's all we kids talked about was "The Wiz". We never talked about the Wizard of Oz. Lol

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Houston's single was also an international success, peaking at number one of the singles charts in almost all countries! What was the songs from "The Wiz" that went to number one......anywhere? LOL!!!!
    Sorry to burst your bubble but "A Brand New Day" went to number one on both the Dutch and Belgian charts in 1979.

  45. #45
    Here is a video of the behind the scenes, making of the Wiz


  46. #46
    I found The Wiz to be okay, but not the big musical and hit it should have been considering the talent. I see they were trying to give it a 1970's NYC vibe with the sets but it didn't transfer as well to film as it would as a set piece in a play. None of the acting was awful but I was disappointed in Diana Ross' performance after she was superb in Lady Sings The Blues and was able to rise above the material in Mahogany. She seemed to be playing it with just being downhearted or scared and it should have been a vehicle she could have easily transcended whatever shortcomings in the production with her abilities. She did a decent job later on television with Double Platinum and was excellent in Out of Darkness, so wondering if it was direction or simply miscast. The good thing was Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson bonded and formed a collaboration that set the music world on fire. I remember reading Jackson wanted to play Peter Pan, but maybe reflecting on how the Wiz was initially received he never got it off the ground. Shame, because Diana Ross was a good actress and this film seems to be the one the new generation is familiar with.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by jim aka jtigre99 View Post
    . I remember reading Jackson wanted to play Peter Pan, but maybe reflecting on how the Wiz was initially received he never got it off the ground. Shame, .
    That was s project that should have been meant to be. Likely to be a timeless classic.

    I never understood how Michael Jackson, a Motown deserter, was given the starring role in a Motown film.?

  48. #48
    Don't think Diana was at fault for how The Wiz turned out. Turns out Sidney Lumet stepped over his boundaries trying to produce a BLACK musical...

    Had some things have been different like the cinematography and special effects, it would've turned out to be a better film.

    That said, ONE thing the film had going for it was the music. Everyone - except Nipsey Russell lmao - was brilliant with the songs they sang.

    Diana slayed "Home". And MJ's studio version of You Can't Win remains an underrated masterpiece in the MJ canon:



    BUT I still love that part where things changed colors and people reacted according to the color change. The film version of "The Wiz" is pretty campy and with campy films, that's all you need, forget everything else. Everything can go wrong but as long as if it has something campy in it, it's forgiven. That seems to be the case with "The Wiz".

    Plus Luther's "Everybody Rejoice (Brand New Day)" shows that early on before he became Luther Vandross, he was already a force to be reckoned with.
    Last edited by midnightman; 06-10-2018 at 03:50 PM.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post

    I never understood how Michael Jackson, a Motown deserter, was given the starring role in a Motown film.?
    Itís been said that Diana wanted him in the movie.

  50. #50
    Berry must have been in his "whatever" mode by this point.

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