In common with little Dorothys perilous adventures, the road to OZ has been fraught with many producton difficulties. Reverting to its original title for release June 21, RETURN TO OZ nearly became ‘Woz when Walt Disneys head of production Dick Berger, put the film in turnaround 8 weeks before principal photography was due to start last year (14:4/14:5:14). It was then that producer Paul Maslansky came into the picture to insure the budget—escalating towards $31 million—was held in check.
Director of photography, Freddie Francis, was replaced by David Watkin when it became clear to everyone that he and director Walter Murch just could not get along. And replacement looked like Murchs fate too, when the output of usable footage dipped well below the 1 minute and 22 second daily quota needed by Maslansky to deliver the film on time and on budget.