Return to Oz

Countryside on the outskirts of Chitterne doubled for Kansas, USA in the film Return to Oz, a follow-up to the Wizard of Oz, based on a story by L. Frank Baum.

Constructing the set

A copse alongside Down Barn Road on MoD land became the setting for Dorothy's home in Kansas. Fairuza Balk, who played Dorothy and Piper Laurie, who played her Aunt Em Blue, enacted scenes around a cabin specially built amongst the trees. A crop of maize was grown nearby, on land farmed by Major Walker of Manor Farm (now Chitterne Farm West), to add authenticity.

Photos courtesy of Salisbury Journal

Scenes where the actors were travelling by horse and trap were filmed near the Lodge at Tilshead and the interior shots of the cabin were filmed on sets built in the old cinema at Westdown Camp, Tilshead.

The film company made use of some locals as extras and several Chitterne children, who were attending Tilshead Primary School at the time, were amongst a group who visited the sets in Chitterne and Tilshead. Later the older children were invited to visit the film studios in London, where the main part of the film was being made, to meet ten year old Fairuza Balk. Fairuza who was with her tutor in a trailer that doubled as her classroom, explained that when she was not required on set she had to have lessons just like her visitors. The children were taken around the film lot on a small train-like vehicle to see more sets created for the film as well as others created for Star Wars. At the end of the day each child was given a photograph of Fairuza as a memento.