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Godspell [DVD] [2008]

3.8 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: David Haskell, Victor Garber, Lynne Thigpen, Katie Hanley
  • Directors: David Greene
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent. UK
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Nov. 2010
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001L5KEFY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,788 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

The international hit musical sensation GODSPELL comes to life in this exhilarating screen adaptation. An updated interpretation of the Gospel's lessons filled with unforgettable song and dance numbers, GODSPELL is rousing entertainment in the tradition of the classic rock operas Hair, Tommy, and Jesus Christ Superstar. John the Baptist (David Haskell) gathers a diverse band of youthful disciplesto follow and learn from the teachings of Jesus (Victor Garber, Titanic). They form a roving actingtroupe that enacts the Parables through the streets and landmarks of a brilliantly photographed contemporary New York City. High-spirited music, including the smash hit song Day by Day from Oscar(r)-winning lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Original Song Colors of the Wind and Original Score, Pocahontas, 1995) and show-stopping dance routines contribute to this superb family entertainment.

From Amazon.co.uk

Comparing Godspell to its near-contemporaries Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair is unavoidable, but Godspell has developed its own unique following. With their thrift-store-meets-circus-performer garb, the characters in David Greene's adaptation of the popular off-Broadway production may look more like the hippies in Hair than the biblical personages of Superstar. But Godspell isn't really about the "Age of Aquarius," nor does it adopt a dark or operatic tone towards its subject matter, the Gospel according to Matthew. The mood is, instead, upbeat and uplifting (at least until the crucifixion sequence).

The film opens with youthful city dwellers from various walks of life dropping their activities to follow John the Baptist (David Haskell from the original New York production). They sing ("Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord") as he leads them into a fountain where they are (metaphorically) baptized. There they meet Jesus (Victor Garber). Frizzy hair and mime makeup aside, the handsome young Garber (Titanic, Annie) is convincing in his film debut. Once baptized, they follow him around various scenic New York locations, singing and acting out passages from the Scriptures.

The largely unknown cast is talented and charismatic, but the film is only fitfully engaging on an emotional level because only Jesus, John, and Judas (Haskell again) emerge as distinct characters. Stephen Schwartz's pleasing pop-rock score, however, helps to smooth over the rough spots, and Robin Lamont's hit version of "Day by Day" remains a highlight. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Just a great show from the seventies with full hippy costumes and a great script around some fine voices and good acting froma professional cast. Set in New York streets pre 9/11 and the Twin Towers disaster. We enjoyed every minute and it left us a adefinite deelgood feeling and a better understanding of Matthew's gospel, acted out in a contemporary setting. Don't demand too much of it biblically, just enjoy the show.
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I saw the original Godspell show in London and have since it since as a local amateur production. Both stage shows were absolutely fantastic and I cannot believe how it has been represented in this DVD. The stage show was an extremely moving interpretation of the gospel with wonderful music; even though it was presented in a light hearted way with the cast dressed as clowns / hipppies. This DVD does not represent the original feeling and emotion. Songs that were originally sung with feeling were now sung with a comedy aspect. At times it is like watching a childish slapstick comedy. Also the order of the story and songs has been changed from the order in the stage show. Anyone who remembers the original show and is hoping to recreate this, will be very disappointed. A complete waste of money.
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By Bernie VINE VOICE on 3 Aug. 2006
Format: DVD
A snippet of time. The film made in the 70' with a seventies version of 60's hippies. There are some great views of the twin towers.

As with many film adaptations of plays, I the effort to take advantage of the media the essence of the play can get lost. Sure the songs are there but the filler is just that. The play as seen in its many incarnations is inspiring and makes one want to read the gospel of St. Mathew. However this version takes great effort to get through. Also based on the book "The Feast of Fools: A Theological Essay on Festivity and Fantasy".

Still this is the only recording we have to remember a play a time and a message. And the song "Day by Day" pretty much expresses the reason for the play and the reason to be part of the larger play.
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By FC on 2 Dec. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was the first time that I had seen the film version of the musical, Godspell. The acting enhanced the wonderful songs and brought the story to life in a very convincing manner. I had previously been to a local Youth Theatre stage production of Godspell where I had enjoyed the songs and they were joined together loosely by the action but here, on the film there is a greater sense of continuity which I found to be quite uplifting. Some excellent individual vocal performances supported from a very able chorus from the cast members.
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Format: DVD
This is very much a curate's egg of a film - by turns cloying & irritating then suddenly very moving!
I saw the original London production several times, and that initially was quite serious, but as the run continued & the cast changed, it became increasingly reliant on silly voices and TV catch-phrases, like bad pantomime. In the same way, this film's very likeable cast simply tries too hard - the frantic routines remind me of "The Monkees" TV show at times. But suddenly there are moments of great charm - notably the close harmonies of the lovely song "By My Side", always the show's musical highlight in my far-from-humble opinion.

Theologically it's very dodgy - why are John the Baptist and Judas Iscariot the same person, and doesn't all the happy-clappy, sub-hippie lovey-doveyness sit rather uncomfortably beside the uncompromising "fire-and-brimstone" preaching? And why, why, why is there no Resurrection? The stage show had Jesus leaping up to join the rest of the cast in a rousing encore of "Day by Day", but here...nothing. The cast just carries his body into the city streets. Symbolic of evangelism, perhaps, but couldn't they, say, have gone back to their everyday lives and looked up from time to time, only to see Him across the shop/office/cafe or whatever?

A missed opportunity when it was made, but worth buying for the well-sung songs, the nostalgia, seeing New York in a more innocent age, and the individual charm of the performers.
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Shame that it's only a mono soundtrack, but it was good to watch again one of my favourite films from my teenage years as it no longer appears on TV (possibly something to do with one one of the song and dance numbers taking place on the Twin Towers, which were in the final stages of construction at the time of filming). It's a little bit dated, but the deserted New York background is still as haunting as ever.
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I love this film/ Musical because it has beautiful, tuneful songs with unadulterated bible/ scripture running all the way through them.
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Although Jesus Christ Superstar is much better known than this one, Godspell is a beautiful film/musical with some remarkable melodies. Just check out the song "Day by day". It gives me a very warm feeling.
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