|FROM THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, PILATE PRESENTS JESUS AND BARABBAS TO THE MASSES|
It's actually surprisingly good, and I say that not to damn with faint praise. As many of you know, religious drama is difficult to get right - too often it's either artless hagiography or a succession of greatest hits scenes from the Bible, but this gives us a rather interesting twist to the psychological makeup of Barabbas, of whom little is known. It also contains some good performances; Daly is always an interesting, literate actor, and his occasional forays into over-the-top histrionics is, I think, more a representation of the anger and wildness that would have driven a man such as Barabbas. In that sense it reminds me of Harry Guardino's take on Barabbas in King of Kings, although Guardino seems to be to be capable of far less subtlety as an actor than Daly. "Give Us Barabbas!" also reminds me of the Anthony Quinn movie Barabbas which attempts to accomplish the same thing, rather unsuccessfully, I think, even though it's based on a novel written by a Nobel prizewinner.
Tell me, in all honesty - can you imagine anything like this being presented on network television today? Not as a rerun of a beloved special, I mean, or a revisionist version that casts devils as angels or angels as incredibly un-angelike, or a musical version that tries to update the setting to modern times, but as original, orthodox programming?