A modern-day version of the gospels, opening with John the Baptist calling a disparate group of young New Yorkers from their workaday lives to follow and learn from Jesus. They form a roving acting troupe that enacts the parables through song and dance, comedy, and mime. Jesus' ministry ends with a last supper, his Crucifixion in a junkyard, and, the following morning, his body being carried aloft by his apostles back into the world of the living on the streets of New York. Written by
Steven Dhuey <email@example.com>
When the troupe is carrying the deceased Jesus around the corner, and the streets of Manhattan are supposed to be vacant, a person walks on a sidewalk in the background. See more »
[Mae West impression]
C'mere, Jesus, I've gotta somethin' to show ya!
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The end credits include an infinity frames effect. A sixteen second film of a busy street is shown, and then the right and bottom of the frame is frozen in a sideways capital L. This then becomes the frame for the next iteration of the film, which in turn leaves its right and bottom edges as a frame for the next film. Over the frames and film are played thumbnails of the actors, then credit cards and finally a credit scroll. See more »
Saw this in its original release, on a spring afternoon school trip to a large movie theater on Long Island, which is sadly gone now, like most large single movie theaters. I was so moved by this film that i wore out the soundtrack within a couple of years.
And speaking of buildings being gone, it's so poignant now to see the World Trade Center in this film while it was nearing its completion. With the cast singing the end of the song "All For The Best" on top of one of the towers, how eerie to think that spot doesn't exist anymore. (Also strange that in the beginning of the film, as John the Baptist wheels his cart off the Brooklyn Bridge, the camera pans to show the skyline, and with the Twin Towers there, there's a sound segue to the street scenes...and it's the sound of a jet engine!)
But maybe its appropriate that this film has moments of the Twin Towers in its infancy. Not only in the beginning, in the gorgeous first shot from under the Brooklyn Bridge, and in the song segment...but also when Jesus is on the pier and speaks away from everyone, and the Towers are there again in the shot behind him to the right.
In an odd way, this movie that always meant a lot to me, and count me in as one of the non-religious people out there...its one of the ONLY ways i can see the World Trade Center and feel happy. What other films that shot right at the Twin Towers have the life-affirming qualities that "Godspell" has? I don't know of any, to be honest.
And on that note, I always push this film to people, as one of the outstanding New York movies. Except for the mansion scene...you're at all these exterior locales, with New York empty of people...and to this very day, Manhattan comes alive with memories of this film when i come to a certain location. (Bethesda Fountain was first viewed by me in this film...so every time i go there, one guess what comes to mind.)
Watching it as an adult far from 1973, do I think the film would have aged better with less goofy voices from the performers? Sure. Could the film have been a little longer with the excised songs from the original song still in? You bet, and it still wouldn't have been longer than 105 minutes. Is the ending still one of THE best endings I've seen in a movie musical? Hands down, yes. How brilliant. No stage version of "Godspell" could have done that. Jesus' teachings still matter to many people in the modern day. (And yeah...get past the 1973 fashions and cars...all those scenes of modern NY in the beginning, and the last shot, still hold true today.)
Lastly, for those who were shell-shocked by Mel Gibson's film...i say use this as an alternative. Religious faith needs some smiles and toe-tapping now and then.....
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