Friday Freak-Out: "39 Lashes," Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)


Awesome film. Must download this weekend.

Anyone else in a dilemma about whether to let their kids watch it? I’m worried it will sway them towards jebus…

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I was involved in a stage production of Jesus Christ superstar when I was 16, I memorized just about every part in both English and Spanish (damn my obsessive nature!) and I was not swayed by it. In fact, I find it does a great job of humanizing the characters so well that i couldn’t help but think of “jebus” as anything other than a man. Which is the whole point of the play anyway.

It deals with Jesus as a man and his followers as followers of men, his divinity is left between him and his god.


It didn’t push me toward agnosticism (other life events did that) but I saw it at the same time I was moving in that direction, and it didn’t turn me back.

I talked to the family minister about it at the time, and he said he didn’t like it because there was so much emphasis on Jesus’ betrayal and suffering, and almost nothing about the resurrection.

If anything it might turn your kids toward Judas. Now that I think about it I realize maybe it did push me toward agnosticism by making Judas so complex and sympathetic. Webber and Rice really portray him as a tortured instrument of God’s plan. God sends his own son to be crucified, but Judas suffers just as much and gets none of the thanks. Well, he does get this bit of awesomeness:


Yeah i watched it loads as a kid and i’ve never been anything but atheist. Now that i’ve got my own kids though i just worry too much about this aspect - i just pretend that i don’t care.

Another awesome tune. I might take the plunge this weekend! :smile:

Killer tune for me is this gem;

I think it would be ok as long as they know it’s metaphorical. (and not to get theological, but a rather imperfect metaphor-- it’s never comprehensible why a “sacrifice” is necessary.)

albeit, it really depends how old the children are (should be 12+).

Previously on Boingboing:

This is one of the only times that a film adaptation has left a stronger impression on me than the stage version or original cast recording. Amazing film I can’t watch enough times.

Being the big fan of subtext that I am, I find myself wondering what the appeal of that particular scene was that it has been posted on not just once, but twice.

Given the nature of the comments so far though, I think I have a pretty good idea.

No matter. I preferred this scene anyway:

Oh hell, the music is rocking, I share it with my kids because it is art and beautiful and rocks. Yes, Judas becomes a sympathetic figure - as we are all Judas at some point. Forgiveness is for all sins, why not that complicated man too?

Heck, I was a fan of Godspell when it came out and it didn’t convert me…and JCS is a much more complex and dark tale.

For what it’s worth I much prefer the modern musical arrangements such as this or this or this

I dont know, man. Better not risk it. Imagine living with the shame of having raised… Christians.

Exactly :smile:

Well we watched it together. My daughter’s ok but my son has turned into a massive Christian. God dammit!

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