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Based on a concept album project written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and the subsequent long-running Broadway performance, this film tells the story of the final 6 days in the life of Jesus Christ through the troubled eyes of Judas Iscariot. Too often mis-labeled a musical, this film is a "rock opera." There are no spoken lines, everything is sung.Written by
Ralf Southard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Roman soldier who nails Jesus to the cross was played by an Israeli who spoke very little English. He thought Ted Neeley was actually supposed to have nails hammered through his hands! Just in time, director Norman Jewison saw what was happening and screamed, "NO! NOT IN THE HAND!" See more »
After Jesus finds his apostles asleep, the camera cranes up next to the leaves of a tree. At one point (about 1:00:48 on the DVD) a twigs swings back and forth wildly, indicating that the camera has brushed against it. See more »
Nevermind that the film was controversial... the performances were outstanding. I first watched heard the soundtrack when my mother bought it on a whim. She exposed me to the music and it was not long before I wanted to see the movie for myself.
When I did it instantly became one of my favorites--- certainly my favorite of Webber & Rice's.
I revisted and exposed the film to my girlfriend not too long ago (inspired by Holy Week, of course) and realized how much appreciation I have for Jewison's extraordinary interpretation.
Neeley and Anderson are outstanding. I considered other reviews while listening to the soundtrack and must argue that the entire cast delivers entirely real and stellar performances.
The fact that the movie has 1970's imprints is not to be brushed off as just something that dates the film. In the closer, Judas is asking Christ why he didn't come to earth today:
("Why'd you choose such a backward time and such a strange land? / If you'd come today you would have reached a whole nation / Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication...")
Therefore, Judas' groovy threads are necessary. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to see JCS live--- even luckier to see Neeley and Anderson as the leads--- they've kept with that philosophy and the entire cast (save the priests & Jesus) were dressed in nineties clothes... I also should note that King Herod was an Elvis impersonator (quite funny).
This movie is simply unforgettable.
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