Just-As-Classic Pick o’ the Day: April 26th

THE WIZ (1978)
This stunning retake on The Wizard of Oz is one of the lushest film productions ever created. It’s a soulful version of the classic tale of Dorothy and her little dog Toto getting whisked away to the magical land of Oz, this film infuses the original film with touches of soul and funk alike. Filmed in New York City, several of the city’s landmarks are re-imagined as Emerald City phenomenon. Stars Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Ricard Pryor, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross and Lena Horne. Directed by Sidney Lumet (RIP). Ovation Channel | 8 AM and 11 AM EST.

Another from the Porvaznik family nights at the drive-in and even though The Wiz as a whole hasn’t stood the test of time too well, with musical arrangements by Qunicy Jones, still can’t get enough of “Ease on Down the Road.” Also continue to dig that Richard Pryor and Nipsey Russell appear in the same movie.

Later on Ovation, a tribute to Heath Ledger (4PM EST) and Marvin Gaye Live in ’76 (1 AM EST 4/27).

7 comments to Just-As-Classic Pick o’ the Day: April 26th

  • Plissken79

    The Wiz is an odd one. Michael Jackson is actually not that bad, but Diana Ross is about 15 years too old for the role

    • According to the IMDb trivia for this, Stephanie Mills, who starred as Dorothy in the stage production, was kicked to the curb after the hard-lobbying Ms. Ross guaranteed Michael Jackson if she was cast. John Badham was originally set to direct, too, but also got the boot for insisting Diana was too old.

  • Floyd R Turbo

    Funny Plissken… I remember thinking as a kid that Dorothy was old.

  • Plissken79

    It seems like musicals are among the worst genres for misscasting, and it always drags down the film. Diana Ross in the Wiz is a great example, as was Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady or Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave in Camelot, to name just a few. At least Diana Ross could sing, unlike the other three I just mentioned.

    On another note, this film may have marked the beginning of the “Whacko Jacko” phase, as Jackson was so drawn to Diana Ross at the time he started to look like her

  • Tink in Cali

    Ah yes, we don’t get much Nipsey Russell these days.

  • The College Widow

    Nipsey Russell…now we’re talkin’!

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