Monday, December 19, 2005


I spent a part of the weekend watching the movie Jesus Christ Superstar, and then going back and re-watching various scenes. What an incredible movie, and a timeless piece of early 70’s culture.

First off the whole framing of the story, a group of hippies and performers rolling into the desert to put on this “production,” really gives the movie a unique feel. Mixing ruins, newer artillery, hippies, modern dance, minimalism and a biblical story was a novel idea that I don’t think had been done before. The freedom of the 60’s and 70’s certainly fostered the idea. It makes me long for those days, and the freedom of our society then.

I know many people prefer the original album or the Broadway show, but I really enjoy this version. The music has much more of an edge to it than the Broadway version. Some of the vocal performances are not as good as the original album, but these people are also actors. King Herod’s song performed by Joshua Mostel is much weaker as far as just the vocal is concerned than any of the other versions, but seeing it in the context of the movie it is a great performance overall. His acting and the choreography is off the wall. I can’t get the damn song out of my head.

This rock opera was written from Judas’ view, and as Judas Carl Anderson gives the performance of the movie. His character leaps from the screen from the start and never lets up. His expressions, his movements and his singing just catch your attention and never let’s go. Sadly he passed away in the early 2000’s. He did make a career out of this role, touring with Ted Neely for many years.

Ted Neely as Jesus was a let down for me. He just did not command the screen. His singing did not rise above the others; except for a few places he showed some power. I did not like the casting for this role at all. Funny, he actually auditioned for the role of Judas.

Yvonne Elliman was one of the highlights. She pretty much made a career out of “I Don’t Know How To Love Him.” She was on the original album, the Broadway production, and the movie. Her voice just soars. In the desert scenes her natural beauty comes out. I think she ruined me for blondes at an early age.

Interesting trivia: Which one of the 12 disciples cast in this movie ended up acting in and directing hundreds of porn movies? That would be Peter. Who else would you expect to see in Oral Majority?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I actually got to meet Ted Neely about 8 years ago when I worked at a radio station. I had never seen JCSS before, but there was something about his presance that was so loving and peaceful, like you would expect from Jesus. It was almost creepy, but otherwise a very sureal experience.