Twin Towers Imagery in Godspell (the movie)

My mom recently made DVD copies of the movie Godspell for me and my sibs. The quality wasn’t that great, so we borrowed it on tape from the local library.

She had told me about how upon watching it again, she was taken with the placement of the World Trade Center in so many shots. The towers were just being completed when the movie was being made.

I’ll vidcap the significant ones in separate posts, but this is off that second-generation DVD, so the photo quality isn’t that good.

Other thoughts about the Godspell movie (I haven’t seen the play):

[LIST]
*]It’s campy and fun, and it’s not to be taken as orthodoxy, of course. The ending is confusing; the disciples start rejoicing, but they’re still carrying Jesus’ body. Resurrection, anyone?

*]“Beautiful City” seemed like a weird addition; it wasn’t in the musical. Best I can surmise is that it’s their version of the entrance into Jerusalem, but I could be wrong.

*]While all the actors and actresses were talented, the late Lynne Thigpen could really belt it out. She went on to become “Chief” on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Of course, Victor Garber (Jesus) had a significant role in Titanic.

*]There weren’t that many scenes in which they weren’t running! Hope they were all fit.

*]The folk group at my church when I was little often played “Day By Day” for communion.

*]Paul Shaffer (of David Letterman fame) played keyboards in several songs.
[/LIST]

Vidcaps to follow.

Two shots from the first few minutes:

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The opening shot, in which the voice of God is talking about sending Jesus to redeem mankind from the Fall.

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The apostle representing John (and later Judas) finishes crossing the Brooklyn Bridge to herald Jesus’ coming.

The song “All For The Best” concludes atop one of the Twin Towers:

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The soundtrack album cover image is of the same dance. I’d have been scared spitless to have done that with my back to 1,350 feet of air between me and the street!:

The camera pulls back to reveal where they are:

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And at the conclusion:

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The lyrics:

*[JESUS]
When you feel sad, or under a curse
Your life is bad, your prospects are worse
Your wife is crying, sighing…
And your olive tree is dying,
Temples are graying, and teeth are decaying
And creditors weighing your purse…
Your mood and your robe
Are both a deep blue
You’d bet that Job
Had nothin’ on you…
Don’t forget that when you go to
Heaven you’ll be blessed…
Yes, it’s all for the best…

[JOHN/JUDAS]
Some men are born to live at ease, doing what they please,
Richer than the bees are in honey
Never growing old, never feeling cold
Pulling pots of gold from thin air
The best in every town, best at shaking down
Best at making mountains of money
They can’t take it with them, but what do they care?
They get the center of the meat, cushions on the seat
Houses on the street where it’s sunny…
Summers at the sea, winters warm and free
All of this and we get the rest…
But who is the land for? The sun and the sand for?
You guessed! It’s all for the best…

[BOTH]
You must never be distressed
Yes, it’s all for the…
All your wrongs will be redressed
Yes, it’s all for the…
Someone’s got to be oppressed!

[CHORUS]
Yes, it’s all for the best!!!*

The next scenes appear to take place in the WTC plaza (correct me if I’m wrong).

The disciples start fighting among themselves, then Jesus tells them to love their enemies and pray for them.

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Then comes the Parable of the Sower. Note Trinity Chapel (which survived 9/11 virtually unscathed) behind Jerry Sroka.

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And maybe the most ironic and poignant image of all:

Jesus, having vanquished the Pharisaic “monster,” steps onto the pier and gives his lament for the soon-to-be-doomed Jerusalem. The towers are to his left.

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Wow. Just wow.

Thanks for reminding me of Godspell, I saw it when I was in high school (dating myself here).

As fro the WTC shots, the WTC was completed in 1972, the movie came out in '73 so maybe there was a natural tendency to gravitate towards it.

“All for the Best” is my favorite song – I also loved their take on the prodigal son.

ok, as someone who just recently discovered “Godspell” this year, let me say that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :smiley: :smiley:

I never really noticed the Twin Towers’ appearance (beyond the obvious “It’s All for the Best” song), but the almost prophetic juxtaposition is interesting to note…

Beyond that, let me say once again that I LOVE GODSPELL, and I do believe that, if done correctly, can become a very good tool for evangelization and reflection. I wouldn’t condone any of the songs for a mass, but they have value as GOOD MUSIC (Imo of course) with a great, positive Christian message to boot! :thumbsup:

Will you PLEASE stop singing the tunes now! :wink:

Beyond that, let me say once again that I LOVE GODSPELL, and I do believe that, if done correctly, can become a very good tool for evangelization and reflection.

I’d say the same thing about Jesus Christ Superstar, which sometimes gets questioned. Godspell is perhaps less ultimately edgy on theological ground, though more so on social commentary.

I wouldn’t condone any of the songs for a mass, but they have value as GOOD MUSIC (Imo of course) with a great, positive Christian message to boot! :thumbsup:

Some say that this was, perhaps, some of the best songs of Stephen Schwartz.

We used to sing “All Good Gifts” and “Day By Day” sometimes, including (I think) for Mass when I was in high school. The choir was pretty darn adept at doing them quite well and passionately, with soul.

Ah, ya gotta love the 70s, if for nothing else than the clothes!

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