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Gospel At Colonus
Gospel At Colonus
Actors: Morgan Freeman, Robert Earl Jones
Director: Kirk Browning
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2008     1hr 30min

A renowned collaboration between experimental theater director Lee Breuer and composer Bob Telson, THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS retells Sophocles' classical tragedy Oedipus at Colonus through the medium of modern gospel. — This fi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Morgan Freeman, Robert Earl Jones
Director: Kirk Browning
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama, Other Music, Musicals
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/18/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

An amazing show, but a terrible recording
Marshall Webber | Philadelphia, PA | 12/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This original performance of Oedipus at Colonus is truly one of the most remarkable adaptations of an ancient work for the the modern stage. Other reviewers have commented on the content and the action of the performance; I can only second their enthusiasm. I was blessed to see Gospel at Colonus live in 1996 when it was in Seattle. Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys of Alabama are amazing live, and much of their unique energy powers this production.

I must now, unfortunately, turn my review to the production values of this long awaited DVD. They are abysmal: poor video and inexcusably bad audio. I disagree with other reviewers who assert that this quality is 'typical' of recordings of the time. (by contrast, look at the Great Performances live recording of the The Flying Karamazov Brothers production of Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors" at the Vivian Beaumont theater about the same time. The two are in different worlds of recording quality.)

Running several off the shelf video processing tools would have substantially improved the video quality of this presentation. And while items like vision mixing, camera placement, etc. can't be fixed in post production, the audio certainly could have been: the performance that was recorded live for broadcast was the same one that was recorded live for the excellently produced cast album, which has been available for years. Patching in the crystal clear audio of the album as an alternate audio track on the DVD is the work of about 3 days in a post production studio. Clearly the producers of this DVD were more interested in ringing the cash register than in providing the best archival quality recording of production. I'm tempted to do the work myself and put it up on because after listening to the album for years, listening to the DVD is almost painful.

So 4 stars for finally getting off the pot and getting this seminal work published. But one star lost for not giving a damn about what the quality of the product that they published. I'll be watching this production company closely from now on and be more prone to *RENT* their works before I commit to buying them."
Gospel at Colonus
Paul S. Edwards | Woodbridge, VA, USA | 08/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Gospel At Colonus I have yet to see the DVD, but I have been looking for it. For YEARS, it was only available for academic purposes. I have only an old VHS tape off my TV. The program is based on the Greek play Oedipus at Colonus presented as a Black Revival operetta. One highlight is the appearance of an early Morgan Freeman as the speaker. Other actors include such greats as James Earl Jones, and the music is provided by such groups as The Five Blind Boys of Alabama. The program is superbly written and presented, and is a video and audio masterpiece."
Gospel at Colonus
R. Young | 06/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was knocked out when I saw this piece many years ago on PBS, and have been looking for it ever since. When, after more than a decade, it finally showed up for purchase, I bought six so I could share it with friends. It is first and foremost a musical, and as a professional musician myself, I can assure you that the music is first-rate. The choir is first-rate, the three main women soloists are stupendous (and beautiful), the Hammond B-3 player is outstanding, the soloist of the Five Blind Boys steals the show, and I weep tears of joyful emotion when "Brother Willie" with the purple gloves and the Sam Cooke voice sings his wonderful material. Even Morgan Freeman does some intoning of the "gospel" as the preacher. But it's the idea of this play that really disarms you. The story of Oedipus and his sister-daughters is stunning enough, but told in this manner and style, makes your head spin. A couple of episodes are a little long, but stick with it: the piece as a whole is like nothing else you're likely to see."
Richard Campbell | NJ, USA | 04/15/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this on Broadway in the mid-'80s; this production is rightly justified as a breakthrough mashup of gospel and Greek tragedy. An inspired and inspiring work with brilliant performance by gospel great Clarence Fountain and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, a cast of hundreds, and Morgan Freeman. Astonishing and amazingly faithful to the text."