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Jesus Christ Superstar
09-14-2009, 08:06 PM
Post: #1
Jesus Christ Superstar
Fine, if no one will join me in the film section, then I'll rant in here on my own!!! It'll be like Raph's numbers section...

Now, I am generally a bit of a stereotypical metal fan - long hair, tattoos, etc, but I love this musical. I first saw it when I went on a school trip AFTER I had left school - the RS teacher just liked me, even though I didn't even take the subject for GCSE. My girlfriend was in his class, and he was just a cool teacher.

I saw it again a couple of years ago, when I had the back of my leg tattooed. My friend / the artist was singing along in a thick South African accent and smoking dope. One of the most surreal experiences of my life!

Heaven on their Minds is a fantastic track, but I think my favourite has to be Herod's song, for sheer amusment.

Right, I'll watch Ten Commandments next...
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09-15-2009, 02:56 AM (This post was last modified: 09-15-2009 02:56 AM by GTseng3.)
Post: #2
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
When you watch the Ten Commandments, don't just watch Heston's version. Track down the old black and white silent version as well. I haven't seen it since I was a kid, but I remember it being rather trippy.

But let me be clear on this. I hate Andrew Lloyd Webber. Not because his productions are bad - they're mediocre, but not bad - but because everyone insists that they are awesome. Phantom is the best musical EVAR! I LOVE Cats! For a broadway fan like myself, it is physically painful to hear someone say, "You like broadway? I like broadway too! Which is your favorite, Phantom or Les Miserables?" Grrrr.

That said, my animosity for ALW utterly vanishes when he takes on the bible. He did this twice, in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and in Jesus Christ Superstar. Joseph, frankly, was nothing more than a lighthearted farce. He wasn't really saying anything with Joseph. The songs are so horrible that they actually loop back around and become awesome, in their cheesy camp way (I'm especially fond of "Those Canaan Days", complete with berets, cigarettes, and French accents). True, he has a bit of snark by implying that Joseph didn't REALLY resist Potiphar's wife all that hard, but still, mostly just clean, silly family fun.

Then there's JC Superstar. Here Webber actually tried to deconstruct the JC myth. Which utterly failed, because he's Webber and he's never really been that talented. But still, you get some great moments out of it. This was actually my first exposure to the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have been romantically involved (which I believe just because I'm a romantic, and it's way better than the "Mary is an adulteress" lie that the Catholics made up.) You get "Everything's All Right," which answers the question, "How do you sing a love song to god" rather nicely. (My favorite line: "If we try we'll get by, so forget all about us tonight".) And I'm going to hate myself for saying this, but I don't think any filmmaker ever ever captured the torment, doubt, and pain Jesus must have gone through as much as Webber does in the song "Gethsemane". It's hauntingly beautiful (though some productions really mess it up by burying the beauty in bad guitar,) and the final line ("Kill me, take me now, before I change my mind,") just leaves you with more respect for Jesus than is possible. Here is a guy who isn't really sure if he's god or not. He thinks he's god, but could he be wrong? But he decides to trust his faith.
And then you have Herod's Song. Really, Herod's Song and Jesus Christ Superstar are in the same vein. One is sung by Herod, the other by Pilate. Both are snarky, with modern sensibilities (the latter breaking the fourth wall entirely). Jesus Christ Superstar points out the dichotomy between Jesus's really humble story that took place in the middle of nowhere in a world without mass communication, and Jesus's modern commercial marketability with a cynicism that only the disney-fied super-marketable Webber could manage. But Herod's Song really takes the cake. As you recall, Pilate sends Jesus to Herod, who treats Jesus as a joke, demanding that Jesus perform miracles for him. Jesus responds with silence. Now, growing up in the church, I always imagined this being a major showdown. Herod shows no respect. He dresses Jesus up in mockeries of royal robes, taunts him, and Jesus just stares him down. Herod is shaken. Herod nervously laughs. The court joins in to avoid being beheaded, and Herod gets Jesus back to Pilate as quickly as possible, realizing that this man was powerful.

Herod's Song presents another (probably far more likely than my childhood imaginings) version. This Herod still taunts Jesus, but this time Jesus's silence isn't powerful - it's simply silence. A quiet acknowledgment that there would be no proof. That there would be no miracles. That the superstar Herod's heard about everywhere is just a man who refuses to speak. Why? Is he hiding his powers? Or perhaps he never had any powers to begin with. "Hey aren't you scared of me Christ? Mr. wonderful Christ? You're a freak, you're not the lord. You're nothing but a fraud. Take him away, he's got nothing to say. Get out you King of the . . . get out. Get out you King of the Jews. Get out you King of the Jews. Get out of my life."

And then there's Judas. Judas, given the coolest treatment in JC superstar that I've ever seen him given. True, he's still the traitor . . . but from a certain point of view he's also the hero. Judas is a true believer, not in Jesus, but in the message Jesus brings. Jesus talked about heaven, and love, and peace. Judas was all for that. And then he started all this son of god business. He began believing the tales that he was the messiah. Judas felt he had gone off the deep end. Judas was willing to do anything, even betray his master, in order to salvage the powerful message he used to teach. This is shown throughout "Heaven on their Minds," the opening number, and in the haunting, hypocritical "Damned for All Time".

You know, plus broadway songs from the era where broadway had discovered rock n' roll, but wasn't really sure what to do with it yet Smile

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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09-15-2009, 12:41 PM (This post was last modified: 09-15-2009 12:43 PM by Zagreus.)
Post: #3
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
Haha, you've clearly thought about it more than me! I agree with you on ALW, I'm not a fan, and I'm not really that bigger fan of musicals. I put this in the film thread as I was specifically referring to the '73 version filmed in the desert.

I agree with you on all your comments, and I've watched other versions of JC Superstar on youtube, and I really don't think any of the others are as good as that one. The '73 has a certain charm about it which almost carries the ideas in it, rather than the other way round, if you see what I mean. It's almost a thing in itself, as a snapshot of camp 70s music.

"Hey, cool it, man!"

Having Judas as a black guy could potentially be a bit un-PC nowadays, but the guy that played him, Carl Anderson I believe, is astonishing! Totally steals the show, in my opinion! Herod's bit is just funny, and when Pilate shouts he sounds like John Cleese, but Judas is just brilliant, and no other version I've seen on the net puts that much emotion into the songs.

[Image: 5b017295641808042193349.jpg]

Legend!!!

Oh, and regarding Ten Commandments, it is going to be the Heston one, but I'll try to track down a copy of the black & white one - it must be somewhere on the net. If I find it, and can compress it small enough, do you want me to email you a copy?
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09-15-2009, 12:51 PM
Post: #4
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
Nah, I've got loads of movies on my plate at the moment (just finished watching "Good Night, and Good Luck", a brilliantly understated piece). I can find it myself if I have the desire to watch it again.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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09-15-2009, 07:56 PM
Post: #5
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
(09-15-2009 12:41 PM)Zagreus Wrote:  Oh, and regarding Ten Commandments, it is going to be the Heston one,

The Ten Commandments is about the origin of Passover and of course the giving of the Decalogue. This makes it a Jewish movie, right? Um . . . no.

Easter and Passover are usually close together, the dates being based on similar rules. But because of small differences in those rules, they are sometimes separated by more or less one lunar cycle or about a month. This happened in 2008, when Passover started at sundown on April 19 and Easter (the Western Church version) fell much earlier on March 23.

Guess when ABC-TV showed The Ten Commandments? Saturday night, March 22, of course, the night before Easter. It’s about selling commercials after all. The almost 8 million viewers it drew is equivalent to nearly two-thirds of the world Jewish population. We know what religion ABC executives belong to. Big Grin
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09-15-2009, 09:21 PM
Post: #6
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
A very good point Parousia, and I like the comic strip. I'm not stating a personal preference for Heston's right wing Christian beliefs, I just love the stick on beard they gave him once Moses met the burning bush.

Actually, that's just made me picture Planet of the Apes in a totally different way... His motives?

"Get your paws off me you dirty, stinking ape!"
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09-15-2009, 10:56 PM
Post: #7
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
(09-15-2009 09:21 PM)Zagreus Wrote:  A very good point Parousia, and I like the comic strip. I'm not stating a personal preference for Heston's right wing Christian beliefs, I just love the stick on beard they gave him once Moses met the burning bush.

Speaking of stick on beards:

"The Lord Jehovah has given me these Fifteen (CRASH)......

...Ten......Ten Commandments for all to obey."
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09-15-2009, 11:27 PM
Post: #8
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
It would take a miracle!

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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09-16-2009, 05:57 AM
Post: #9
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
(09-15-2009 11:27 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  It would take a miracle!

Have fun storming the castle!

Wait...wrong movie.
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09-16-2009, 09:49 AM
Post: #10
RE: Jesus Christ Superstar
To the winch, wench!

Wait, no, that's the other fantasy movie with the old hermit and the nagging wife.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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