Oz is a worthy idea that falls short in its execution. It’s a transposition of The Wizard of Oz to 1970s Victoria.Dorothy (Joy Dunstan) is a schoolgirl groupie who’s knocked unconscious when the rock band’s van capsizes. She has a fantasy about arriving in a country town where she’s accidentally run over the local hood, earning the wrath of the dead villain’s malevolent truckie brother (played by a pseudonymous sounding Ned Kelly).
She meets Glin, a gay man who runs the town women’s fashion store (named “The Good Fairy”, geddit?). Dorothy takes to the road to reach Oz (Melbourne) for the last concert of a glam rocker named The Wizard (Graham Matters). She encounters a Scarecrow-surfer dude named Blondie (Bruce Spence) who lacks smarts, a car mechanic/tin man (the ironically named Michael Carman, who’s looking for a root rather than a heart) and a cowardly-lion biker (Garry Waddell).
Ross Wilson supplied the largely forgettable rock score. The inexperienced Chris Löfvén’s direction occasionally verges on amateurish, when characters stand around waiting for something to happen. But the inventive story has some nice ideas and there are likeable performances (especially from Dunstan and Waddell).Oz seems very much of its day now, but has an added fascination for capturing a long-gone mood and providing a snapshot of mid-70s youth counter-culture.