Review: ‘The Making of … and God Spoke’

By standards of new, irreverent documentaries, the humor in "The Making of ... And God Spoke" is too sane and too safe to qualify as a midnight movie, as it was shown at the Toronto fest. The always good-natured frolic and nearly always funny mock docu should appeal to young, hip viewers in major urban centers.

By standards of new, irreverent documentaries, the humor in “The Making of … And God Spoke” is too sane and too safe to qualify as a midnight movie, as it was shown at the Toronto fest. The always good-natured frolic and nearly always funny mock docu should appeal to young, hip viewers in major urban centers.

The versatile Michael Riley is perfectly cast as Clive Walton, director of a humongous biblical epic, produced by Marvin Handleman (Steven Rappaport). It’s one step up the ladder for thetwo, after teaming together on a number of B-movies.

Caper follows their film’s execution phase by phase, from pre-production to theatrical release. Chief problems with this loose, anecdotal comedy are that its humor is predictable and that it basically revolves around the mutations of one good joke. There have been so many accounts, both serious and comical, about behind-the-scenes filmmaking shenanigans that most viewers are not going to be surprised by the disasters and mishaps that this made-in-heaven team faces.

Satire’s first, and best, part details the preparation of the screenplay and casting. When the script proves too long, major but depressing characters like Job are omitted without a blink.

Other highlights include the casting sessions for Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and the lensing of Adam and Eve, with the latter unexpectedly revealing a tattoo.

Fast pacing, blend of accents and acting styles, and some hilarious one-liners compensate in a comedy that doesn’t boast too many spurts of inspiration.

One weak sequence involves the securing of funds for the film’s completion. Miraculously, however, pic regains its initial verve and gusto and concludes on a euphoric note, when the biblical epic assumes a cult status like the notorious midnight flick “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Best scenario would have this following the fate of that cult hit, with lines of people dressed in biblical wear, waiting to see the film and have a “religious” experience.

The Making of ... and God Spoke

Production

A Brookwood Entertainment production. Produced by Mark Rothman, Richard Raddon. Directed by Arthur Borman. Screenplay, Greg Malins, Michael Curtis.

Crew

Camera (color), Lee Daniel; editor, Wendy Stanzler; music, John Masarri; art direction, Joe Tintfass; sound (stereo), Brian Tracy. Reviewed at Festival of Festivals, Toronto, Sept. 17, 1993. Running time: 90 min.

With

Clive Walton - Michael Riley
Marvin Handleman - Steven Rappaport
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