Director: Norman Jewison. Cast: Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman. 108 min. Rated G. Musical.
An incredible accomplishment. The story of Jesus, predominantly a tragedy, becomes an exhilarating and charming Hollywood remake of a Broadway musical. The opening and ending scenes, picturing an acting company arriving and leaving the desert for the show, offers some cushioning effect for those who may be offended by a musical adaptation of the Christ story, justifying that this is just a play - or maybe claiming the whole event is just a play. But the more subtle undertone is the interspersed images of the Arab-Israeli conflict, mainly critical of the Israeli side, while Jesus preaches a message of peace.
(Disclaimer: No, I haven't become Christian. I'm attending a workshop held at Stanford University by the great Iranian filmmaker, Bahram Beyzaei, on the subject of "Cinema and Mythology". The Gospel According to St. Matthew and Jesus Christ Superstar were the homework he gave us to watch for this week.)