Godspell
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Godspell

4.3 12
Director: David Greene, John-Michael Tebelak

Cast: David Greene, John-Michael Tebelak, Victor Garber, David Haskell

     
 

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The chances are pretty good that Columbia Pictures would never have put up the money to acquire Godspell had it not been for the earlier mega-hit status of Jesus Christ Superstar as an album and Broadway show. Godspell was a livelier, somewhat lower-rent off-Broadway musical, with a harder, more basic rock sound, also derived from a religious

Overview

The chances are pretty good that Columbia Pictures would never have put up the money to acquire Godspell had it not been for the earlier mega-hit status of Jesus Christ Superstar as an album and Broadway show. Godspell was a livelier, somewhat lower-rent off-Broadway musical, with a harder, more basic rock sound, also derived from a religious source. Luckily, the producers didn't carry the original too far from its roots as a student work and an off-Broadway success, shooting the movie entirely in New York with a guileless young cast drawn from various stage companies of the piece. The DVD features a good letterboxed transfer of the film, from elements that look and sound at least two generations up from the source material used for television showings in the 1980s. It's not perfect but it is likely a match for most theatrical showings that the movie ever got. The score does come through loudly, with a lot of presence even to the acoustic guitars. The producers have tried to make the DVD special, with only limited success -- in fact, the packaging seems to promise more than the disc delivers. The "Bonus Trailers" refer to trailers for other Columbia titles, but not for Godspell. The "Talent Files" are somewhat sparse, limited to three principal cast members and the director. And the 15 chapters, although they allow viewers to access the individual songs, are also too limited and run way too long, with too much non-song material. On a more positive note, the insert card credits the individual performers featured in each song.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Those who prefer their religion served with a side order of skepticism may find themselves feeling uncomfortable during Godspell -- at times, it's a lot like going to church. Conversely, those with an earnest view of faith will find joyous celebration in this giddy, straight-faced musical that has no place for irony. Unlike Jesus Christ Superstar, which is superior storytelling but inferior recitation of chapter and verse, Godspell floats along with little forward momentum, using only the lesson-intensive gospel of St. Matthew for its minimal plot. While not quite preachy, it's still arcane enough to lose viewers unfamiliar with the Bible. Godspell is full of color and a dear hippie mindset, but it is often too quirky for its own good, full of characters acting so goofy that it seems they've been brainwashed rather than willingly converted. Steadfastly unhip, the movie has to get by on its nonstop energy and enthusiasm, which is neither as contagious as it should be, nor satisfying enough to those looking for a satirical undercurrent. Directors David Greene and John-Michael Tebelak do get thematic resonance from making New York City into an additional character, but it remains on a surface level. The songs of Stephen Schwartz lack the incisiveness of those of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, but they have a totally different agenda and are equally rousing on their own terms. The hit singles ultimately provide the movie with its winning buoyancy, forcing even the cynics to indulge in unself-conscious toe-tapping.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/04/2000
UPC:
0043396224193
Original Release:
1973
Rating:
G
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame, Wide Screen]
Sound:
[monaural]
Time:
1:43:00
Sales rank:
1,766

Special Features

Digitally mastered audio & anamorphic video; Production notes; Interactive menus; Audio: English [mono]; Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai; Musical Highlights: Direct scene access to musical numbers; Talent files; Bonus trailers; Scene selections

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Victor Garber Jesus Christ
David Haskell John,Judas
Jerry Sroka Jerry
Lynne Thigpen Lynne
Katie Hanley Katie
Merrell Jackson Merrell
Robin Lamont Robin
Gilmer McCormick Gilmer
Joanne Jonas Joanne
Jeffrey Mylett Jeffrey

Technical Credits
David Greene Director,Screenwriter
John-Michael Tebelak Director,Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision,Screenwriter
Sammy Bayes Choreography
Brian Eatwell Production Designer
Peggy Gordon Songwriter
Jay Hamburger Songwriter
Alan Heim Editor
G. Richard Heimann Cinematographer
Richard G. Heimann Cinematographer
Ben Kasazkow Art Director
Edgar Lansbury Producer
Stephen Schwartz Score Composer,Songwriter,Musical Direction/Supervision
Sherrie Sucher Score Composer,Costumes/Costume Designer
Kenneth Utt Associate Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Start [1:15]
2. Prologue [6:16]
3. "Prepare Ye(The Way Of The Lord)" [3:04]
4. "Save The People" [11:54]
5. "Day By Day" [8:04]
6. "Turn Back,O Man" [11:05]
7. "Bless The Lord" [4:24]
8. "All For The Best" [4:34]
9. "All Good Gifts" [4:23]
10. "Light Of The World" [10:35]
11. "Alas For You" [4:59]
12. "By My Side" [3:15]
13. "Beautiful City" [3:57]
14. "On The Willows" [7:11]
15. "Finale" [7:46]
16. End Credits [6:04]
Side #2 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Start [1:15]
2. Prologue [6:16]
3. "Prepare Ye(The Way Of The Lord)" [3:04]
4. "Save The People" [11:54]
5. "Day By Day" [8:04]
6. "Turn Back,O Man" [11:05]
7. "Bless The Lord" [4:24]
8. "All For The Best" [4:34]
9. "All Good Gifts" [4:23]
10. "Light Of The World" [10:35]
11. "Alas For You" [4:59]
12. "By My Side" [3:15]
13. "Beautiful City" [3:57]
14. "On The Willows" [7:11]
15. "Finale" [7:46]
16. End Credits [6:04]

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Godspell 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Godspell was sure to reach the masses in the 70s, but it will also reach the masses for our generation now. Now more than ever we need people to know who Jesus is and what He told His followers and in this movie, its done in a way that even someone who knows nothing of Jesus will hear and pick up on the parables of Christ. The world has been slowly fading God out of lives of people but here's a movie to put a spark back in their spirits. Interestingly, the twin towers are in view when Jesus weeps over the city, almost prophetic.
D_MacGowan More than 1 year ago
My favorite movie musical. I have watched it again and again and it always makes me happy and it's a great sing-along movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't know about godspell until one of my friends got a part in the musical play ''GODSPELL'' so i saw the movie and it was kind of corny but it was good and the music is really beautiful and the actors who are in it shocked me because they were in a musical and i could not see them in a musical. I didn't know JESUS was the father of the girl in the series ALIAS and in FRASIER. IF you like musicals, you should see GODSPELL. ''Slowly i turn.....step by step.....inch by inch..''
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first started watching this movie I was a little surprised how silly the characters were, and how mime-ish(clownish) things were acted out. By the end of the movie I was a changed person. The story is told in such a way that if you have ears to hear and understend God's message you see right through all the stage drama, and silliness and comprehend the words of scripture. The songs are so hauntingly beautiful and add such richness to an already perfect movie. The cast did a beautiful job with all the characters, Especially Victor Garber. He brought such a freshness an innocence to the character of Jesus. I recommend this movie to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have had the oppurtunity to perform this musical as Jesus and it is a truly wonderful story. This movie presents that story in a fresh, exciting way that keeps you hooked through every Scripture story and song. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who would like to see a great musical.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Godspell is a wonderful movie; I've watched it probably seven times and I've seen the stage show twice. When I look at my DVD I just don't understand why there aren't more extras. Why not have director and cast commentaries, and how about footage of a reunion, and details about the specific sites in NYC where they filmed.... And how did they manage to clear out so many other people from NYC? And how did it feel to dance on the twin towers? And what are the living actors doing now? And did they ad-lib certain parts, and which parts? And who came from the Broadway cast and who didn't? And did they save any of their costumes? How do they feel about their work in Godspell? And why were two songs cut from the Broadway show when the film was made? And do the cast members keep in touch with each other? Did they go to Lynne's funeral? And can the director explain the reasoning behind the apostles carrying Jesus' body off screen and leaving the Resurrection to the imagination? And what out-takes can we see, please? Godspell deserves a complete two-DVD set with good extras.
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