Director: Norman Jewison
Summary: Film version of the musical stage play, presenting the last few weeks of Christ’s life, told in an anachronistic manner.
Times Watched: Dozen times or more
My Experience: I watched this a lot as a kid just to hear the music, a couple of times as an adult. I saw the live play with the original cast as a kid, and I saw a local production of it as well. I’m ambivalent about the movie itself. Hippie Jesus is funny, as is high-pitched, goofy King Herod, but it’s slow at times. When they’re not singing, it’s not the best moviemaking.
The music on the other hand is still amazing. Carl Anderson owns every scene that he’s in. “Heaven On Their Minds” and “Strange Thing Mystifying” are powerhouse numbers. Yvonne Elliman’s ballads are pretty great, too. While Webber and Rice get a bit too cheeky with their songs at times, I think they pretty much nail it with this musical. It’s raw and powerful, and left a lasting impression on me.