Monday, March 09, 2009


Godspell is a 1973 film adaptation of the 1970 musical play. I don't remember this being released in theaters and know I didn't see it then. The first recollection I have of this is seeing it on television and in a community theater in Jackson, TN. I was familiar with the original cast recording before I saw the movie and always did like it better than the movie soundtrack. The film stars Victor Garber as Jesus, David Haskell as John the Baptist and Judas (a combo that always freaked me out) and Lynne Thigpen (whom we loved as The Chief in Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego). I love that half the disciples are women.

This Jesus movie focuses on the parables from Matthew and does a beautiful job of the retellings, bringing them to life. It's odd to see the brand new twin towers featured. Our DVD is pretty bare bones with precious little in the way of extras. This has always seemed to me to be the most depressing of the Jesus movies. Jesus' life seems to effect no change. The disciples and the city are different during Jesus' public ministry, but everything goes right back like it was at the start once Jesus has died. The dead Jesus and his disciples disappear into the crowd leaving no sign of their presence, no ripple of change, having made no apparent difference.

The movie is online at youtube in 12 parts with most embedding disabled:
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, ending credits

Roger Ebert likes it. Bible Films Blog has a podcast and some posts, including a scene guide that matches the scenes to scripture passages. The New York Times closes its review with this:
I like its music, its drive and its determination, even when it's pretending to a kind of innocence and naiveté that I never for a second believe.

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