Sidney Lumet’s 1978 cult classic musical THE WIZ is easin’ on down the road to The Frida Cinema!
The story may be familiar, but this oh-so-70’s re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz is anything but! When reserved schoolteacher Dorothy Gale (Diana Ross) chases her runaway dog Toto into a snowstorm on Thanksgiving, she is whisked away to the surreal urban landscape of the Land of Oz. After accidentally murdering one of Oz’s two Wicked Witches, Dorothy puts on the Silver Slippers and heads down the yellow brick road in search of The Wiz (a slightly, uh, accelerated Richard Pryor), the one person in Oz who can send her back to Harlem. Along the way she meets the Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), the Tin Man (Nipsey Russell) and the Cowardly Lion (Ted Ross), who help her reach the Emerald City while fending off biker gangs, Poppy Girls, and the Wicked Witch of the West, Evillene (Mabel King).
A critical and commercial failure at the time of its release, The Wiz has since developed a devoted cult following, particularly among fans of Michael Jackson, Oz aficionados, edgy and offbeat musicals, and 80’s kids who grew up on countless television reruns of this African American history and culture-themed take on The Wizard of Oz. Full of spectacle, music, and an extended dance sequence in the plaza of the World Trade Center, The Wiz was one of the last great films of the 1970s “blaxploitation” wave.
Friday, July 28 – 11:30am, 5:15pm
Saturday, July 29 – 11:30am, 2:30pm, 5:15pm
Directed by Sidney Lumet. 1978. 135 minutes. Rated G.
“Sidney Lumet’s spectacular, joyous production of The Wiz generates a mood of wonder and sentimental rapture recalling the arrival of the Mother Ship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” – Gary Arnold, The Washington Post