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The hippy-dippy / flower child look of the film, which so many revivals of the show are so quick to discard, is ideally suited to the time-mashup approach of Jewison's vision.It strikes me as ingenious that we are invited to make parallels between Jesus and his followers and the youth of the '70s.And it does so in a way that manages to be both impassioned and reverent, yet refreshingly free of the kind of fervent self-seriousness that mars many films about religion.The non-traditional score (orchestrated pop/rock) and refreshingly ambiguous nature of its visuals (what time In listening to three decades' worth of covers, revivals, and re-recordings, I still find this version of Jesus Christ Superstar to be the best sung of the lot.Thus, with so many iterations of the same tale already committed to celluloid, it's fair to assume that by 1973, when the 1971 Broadway rock-opera Jesus Christ Superstar was ultimately adapted for the screen, no one involved harbored any illusions that audiences would be flocking to the film eager to find out how it all comes out. This was to be the screen's first all-singing, all-dancing Jesus, and its daring, once-controversial, "hook" was to have the Passion Play told (with a decidedly youthful slant) from the perspective of, and in sympathy with, the apostle Judas.
In stressing the contemporarily familiar, establishes a narrative point of view which asks us to question the difference between the myth and the man.
Oh, and as every rule has its exception: when I wrote earlier that I'm not easily moved by religious films, that still stands; with the exception of Ted Neeley's performance of the song "Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)." It's the only part of the film that can consistently bring tears to my eyes.
Dramatically shot and emotionally intense, it is a really beautiful bit of filmmaking aided immensely by Neeley's wrenching vocal performance. truly shines is in the stark freshness of its visuals. At turns, whimsical, epic, theatrical, and poetic, it is one of those rare adaptations of a stage success that achieve multiple moments of pure cinema.
It has the power to bring me to a state of childlike elation in a single viewing.
Even now, all I can think when I look at it is, WOW!!! (Watching it makes me feel proud to be a dancer, although, if I were to try any of these moves now, I'd likely break into a million pieces like Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn in is yet another one of those motion pictures that grows better with age.