28 March 2010

Happy Palm Sunday

A clip from the under-appreciated--or at least, overlooked--film version of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR.  I think Norman Jewison does a fantastic job of nailing the tone of this piece, and its implicit dichotomy of traditional biblical imagery and 20th Century rock idolatry.  There's a certain understated grace here--same as in the FIDDLER movie.  Definitely taking from the Robert Wise school of movie-musical realism.  I wish Jewison were charged with other stage-to-screen adaptations

If this above clip doesn't do it for you, I urge you to compare to the late '90s tv version.  The symbolism--and singing--is really quite forced.  Every syllable of every lyric is performed so emphatically (because it's "serious" I suppose), as if doing so makes it "deep".  But the heavy hand only serves to make the material look flimsy.  Telegraph that it's deep, and you'll only dissappoint.  Undercut it, and audience members can find depth they don't necessarily expect. 


  1. Perhaps Bryan Singer watched the JCSuper* remake rigth before directing Rent.

  2. Yeah, you gotta go old school with JCS....you can't beat the integrity of the original's metatheatricality. The latter looks like a bad Gen-X Pepsi commercial.