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Nearly thirty years ago, the church choir I was a member of staged an
entertainment evening, the first half of which was a 45-minute 'sung story'
called Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Nearly thirty years
on, and I have a chance to show my own children what a wondrous musical this
was and continues to be.
I also have to confess that, when I first heard of this release, I was one of those people who went 'Donny Osmond???!!??'. Again, this was coloured by memories of 30-odd years of knowing him as a 70's teenybopper, but I have to admit that I was very pleasently surprised by his performance here. The years he spent playing Joseph on stage show in his performance, and it also made me forget Jason Donovan or Philip Schofield in the part.
The film succeeds both by acknowledging the most recent stage productions, and returning to its roots. It was originally written as a school stage show, and the prologue in the assembly hall returns to it to the original setting. Having the teachers (and yes, I took a double take on Joan Collins on the piano) go on to be the singers and actors grounds the film, and the opening up of the stage setting is done without ever letting you forget it was a stage show.
The support cast are all good - it's especially satisfying to see the likes of Richard Attenborough and Christopher Biggins doing musicals again after nearly 30 years as well. Joan Collins has a whale of a time as Mrs Potiphar, and Pharaoh gets down and rocks with the best of them. Maria Freidman as the narrator shows her vocal range to perfection - currently she is the main attraction in the stage show of Witches of Eastwick.
All in all, good family fun, and worth watching with your kids.
I was very impressed about how everything flowed in this production. I have to admit I was very skeptical about how film captures biblical stories, and if you've had the misfortune of seeing NBC's atrocious waste of time "Noah's Ark", it's not hard to be skeptical. However, I was VERY impressed with not only the main principals (Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman) but also with the supporting cast. Any production that can make A-list stars like Lord Richard Attenborough, Joan Collins, and Ian MacNiece take such small roles you know has to be good. I was particularly impressed by the brothers. Among the best of the group were Simeon, Benjamin, Ruben and Judah. I wanted to not like them because, after all, they are the bad guys. But they made me laugh more than anything else, which I believe was the whole point. A splendid variety of music and choreography make this one a keeper. (P.S. My absolute favorite character was Pharoh played by Richard Torti. "Pharoh is in the building!"... classic!
Those hoping to see a direct translation of the stage show might be slightly
dissapointed. It has lost some of it's wit and charm, but has replaced them
with an exuberance reminisant of the old time film musicals, where everyone
looked as if they were having the time of their lives. This is what shines
through mostly about this video. The feeling that the people involved knew
they wanted it to be special, and they have succeded.
They have opened the show up slightly, with the opening set in a school and all the main cast as the teachers. They've added some rather snazzy special effects which on this occassion don't overwhelm the whole film, but help to draw the viewer into the world which they create. There are some wonderful cameos from a few familiar faces and the largely unknown cast of Brothers and Wives shine, with a few stand out performances from some of them. One of the girls reminds me of a young Joyce Grenfell.
Then we have our Two principals Donny Osmond and Maria Friedman. There were a few raised eyebrows when it was announced that Donny would be playing the lead role, but all misgivings are swept away as he makes the part all his very own, with a mixture of playful charm and vitality. Maria Friedman is a screen star in the making, with a charisma that makes her seem a natural for the screen. She has been wowing audiences in the West End for sometime now, but I'm sure that soon Tinseltown will take her and make her the star she should be.
There is very little wrong with this production and I'm sure that it will have been in many peoples Christmas stocking. So while it may not be a gem, you can safely say it is a rough diamond, which in many cases shines much brighter.
This is one of the best musicals on video that I have found. Unlike some
film versions of Broadway greats (such as the Fantasticks), the producers
this film maintained, as far as I know, the lyrics and music from the
show, and presented it in an enhanced theatrical manner. The frame story
visible stage lights kept a live feel to the film, and many live-theatre
conventions made this a joy for a theatre buff to watch.
I felt that the kids were a wonderful addition. Their voices (especially in Any Dream Will Do) provided a chillingly beautiful dimension to the sound, which was, without exception, superb. The narrator was great, and, I must say, just the sort of teacher I would have like to have had in grade school. The frame story tied the show to its roots as a childrens' production, which helped. The film works on several levels, as a kids show, and as an adult show, for those who care to consider the issues at hand.
The sets were fabulous, especially the transformation of Potifer's house and the jail cell by the addition of colors in the walls and floor. Stunning.
The formatting, too, must recieve a mention. A full-fledged DVD release with extra features, full widescreen, and immaculate sound were very welcome indeed.
Nicely done on the whole.
This was much better than I thought it might be, and I give it a high
grade in a number of areas, beginning with production. This looked
good, sounded good and simply was good! For some reason, I didn't
expect much from Donny Osmond. I guess the Osmond is a lot more
talented than people give them credit for, and I won't make that
mistake again. I'd say the same for Joan Collins, who I could not
picture in a "biblical film," but she did just fine. Then again, she
played the villainous "Potiphar," so it wasn't like she was playing
Normally I wouldn't care for something that was akin to an opera (all the lyrics being sung) and would skeptical about any Hollywood did regarding the Bible (figuring it would be distorted) but - once again - I was surprised. The story stayed true to the Bible and the presentation was so well done - and so incredibly colorful on this DVD - that is was a very satisfying and entertaining adaptation..
What most people who liked this DVD would cite the acting, the singing, the songs and/or the story as what impressed them most but, to me, it was the brilliant, stunning color in this play. Besides being a classic Old Testament story, this is a real visual treat.
The film dazzled me! Stage-sets and costumes and lighting are so beautiful, colourful and inventive, they are a treat to look at. The music is lovely and the text is witty. There whole performance is full of fun. Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door are the most powerful tunes in the musical, but other moments and songs are also excellent. The more I watch the film the more I enjoy everything in it Jacob and Sons, Joseph's Coat, One More Angel In Heaven, Go, Go, Go Joseph, etc. The scene with the Pharaoh is astonishing, hilarious! However, I especially like Those Canaan Days, and Jeff Blumenkrantz (Simeon) does it stylishly. Dances are wonderful, remind of a carnival. The show is cheerful, joyous, inspiring. It really lifts me up. The cast is perfect from Donny Osmond and Maria Friedman to the children. Donny is not only a good singer and a VERY handsome man, he's got an impressive dramatic talent. He's adequate in every scene as young conceited dreamer, as stoic prisoner, as Brilliant Pharaoh's number two, but he is best of all in the end. He succeeded in keeping the situation tense while accusing Benjamin of robbery, and then the reunion of family is very touching. Maria Friedman is also outstanding expressive, interesting, entertaining and strong-voiced. She attracts your attention through the entire show. Other actors, including Richard Attenborough (a fine example of a family man Jacob), Joan Collins (beautiful and wicked Mrs. Potiphar), Ian McNeice (cool and so fine Potiphar), Robert Torti (wonderful Pharaoh), all the brothers, Alex Jennings (the Butler) are excellent. I think, they enjoyed acting in the musical, so we enjoy watching them. Highly recommended.
I was reluctant at first to see this. I have a great deal of respect for the story of Joseph in the Bible. However I must admit that I was greatly surprised. The cast was perfect, and the music was great. The comedy that was created was incredible. The manner in which the characters were portrayed and the flow of the plot was a stroke of genius for these men. I was totally enamored with Joan Collins portrayal of Potiphar's wife. As usual she was sexy and beautiful. Then there was the Pharoh. His magnetism and presence was amazing. I think his scene was the best played out in the show. I could not take my eyes off of him. Even Donnie Osmond's presence seemed diminished in his presence. Overall I would say that this show was rated among the top 3 musicals that I could watch over and over. I would place this in the same category as The Sound of Music, and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. All are my favorite musicals.
Let's make it clear that Joseph is the special one: a musical that's colorful. Maria Friedman has a beautiful voice and owns the role of Narrator. She also shares a wonderful duet with Donny Osmond as Joseph. The wide variety of musical styles for each number is enchanting: ragtime, country-western, calypso, rock'n'roll ala Elvis, French chanson, etc. My favorite musical segment was the 'Poor, Poor Joseph' parts added into several of the songs with great harmony from the ensemble. The eleven brothers are fabulously diabolical and leaves the viewer wanting to see more of them. The only objectionable, albeit quick scene could be with Mrs. Potiphar (Joan Collins) where the costume and acting is quite risqué. But it's all right there in the Bible "Chapter 39 of Genesis"... Except for the part where they don't mention God, the show, in general, does stay true to the Biblical narrative. A dazzling movie of many colors!
What a gem this new version of Joseph is - a sparkling, lively version of the Lloyd-Webber classic. The songs are performed to perfection and the sets and choreography are brilliant. A strong cast of the famous and the not-so famous (the best of whom by far is Maria Friedman, who, as the Narrator, has a wonderful voice and great stage presence) make the production a delight to watch and sing along to! Children and adults alike will adore its great songs, funky choreography, and humour, making it one for all the family. Donny Osmond doesn't half make a good Joseph too (much to my surprise!).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this on TV as the first major Christmas offering of the year and i liked it. It was slightly jazzed up you could say and at first I thought,Donny Osmond as Joseph,slightly modernised ,oh dear this is going to be just awful. However the more it went on the more into it I got and by the end I was singing along to the tunes and throughly enjoying it. The setting was in a school with the children as the background singers and when Joseph came in he sang to and with the children which I thought was a very nice touch. The cast was unknown but had Richard Attenbourgh as Jacob and Joan Collins as Photiphers wife which bought a bit of extra class to an excellent production. My favourite bit was the Pharoh doing an impression of Elvis.Pure class. If you ever see this on video/DVD or on the TV then take a look.You might be surprised. Purists may look down their noses at this but for a fan of musicals it barely puts a foot wrong. Definitely worthy of a 9/10
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