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 <email@example.com>
"I Don't Know How to Love Him" had originally been published with different lyrics in the autumn of 1967, the original title being "Kansas Morning". The melody's main theme has come under some scrutiny for being non-original, being compared to a theme from Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor. In December 1969 and January 1970, when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice completed Jesus Christ Superstar, Rice wrote new lyrics to the tune of "Kansas Morning" to provide the solo number for the character of Mary Magdalene (Rice and Webber's agent David Land would purchase the rights to "Kansas Morning" back from Southern Music for £50). Now entitled "I Don't Know How to Love Him", the song was recorded by Yvonne Elliman and completed between March and July 1970. When first presented with "I Don't Know How to Love Him", Elliman had been puzzled by the romantic nature of the lyrics, as she had been under the impression that the Mary she'd been recruited to portray was Jesus's mother. See more »
In "Superstar" Judas sings "Could Muhammad move a mountain / Or was that just PR?" The story of the crucifixion is set circa A.D. 30-33, more than 500 years before Muhammad's birth. See more »
Crucify him! Crucify!
What do you mean? You'd crucify your king?
We have no king but Caeser!
He's done no wrong! No, not the slightest thing!
We have no king but Caeser! Crucify him!
Well, this is new, respect for Caeser! 'Till now, this has been noticeably lacking! Who is this Jesus? Why is he different? You Jews produce Messiahs by the sackful!
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The Lloyd-Webber and Rice musical comes to the screen, and is nothing like the stage show at all. The deserts are real, although the back story is that this is a theatre company, putting on a production in real locations.
The cast are largely session singers and unknowns - Ted Neeley, delicate and high-voiced as Jesus (particularly superb in `Gethsemane'); Carl Anderson, black and doe-eyed as Judas with hot soul vocals, Barry Dennen as Pilate, and Yvonne Elliman as Magdelene with her big number `I Don't Know How To Love Him'.
One loss for those who know the stage version is being removed from the crucifixion preamble, when the ghost of Judas sings `Superstar' - this was all video camera projection in the theatre, while in the movie we are detached observers. But at other times we get uncomfortably close. And the songs survive the transportation to a more realistic setting (except the added `Could We Start Again, Please?' which sounds rather too much like the Coca-Cola theme for comfort).
Best scenes? The one in the temple; Hosanna; and the Pharisees tapping on their scaffolding perches like crows.
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