Ken Russell: S/D

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Valentino was on cable a couple nights ago. Hadn't ever seen it before, but I think that one movie alone is single-handedly responsible for Baz Luhrmann. Anyway, there's nothing like sheer bloody excess and Russell certainly piles it on.

Perhaps this should be a "Defend The Indefensible" thread instead?

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Thursday, 20 May 2004 21:27 (eighteen years ago) link

I can't wait to see his Nikola Tesla movie

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Thursday, 20 May 2004 21:30 (eighteen years ago) link

I watched Valentino too, but I loved it. Baz Luhrmann wishes he had Russell's control over excess... er, at least w/r/t this particular movie. I also watched Tommy recently and... it's not as good.

Eric H. (Eric H.), Thursday, 20 May 2004 22:49 (eighteen years ago) link

search: The Devils, Crimes Of Passion, Altered States
destroy: everything else

PVC (peeveecee), Saturday, 22 May 2004 00:51 (eighteen years ago) link

Does anyone have any thoughts on Altered States? I see it in the used VHS bin at my Hastings all the time. I've never seen a Ken Russell film. Worth two bucks? Why?

The Narwhal (the narwhal), Saturday, 22 May 2004 18:03 (eighteen years ago) link

search: Mahler

de, Saturday, 22 May 2004 18:50 (eighteen years ago) link

four months pass...
Crimes Of Passion has to be one of the most enjoyably silly films ever made. The list of classic scenes are far too many to list, but Anthony Perkins attacking that blow up doll (and his eventual death by dildo) and Kathleen Turner and the cop (and his nightstick). Fantastic stuff.

Lair of the White Worm is less fun but even more bizarre, and what is Hugh Grant doing here anyway?

The only Russell film I ever hated was that one he did about Uri Geller and I can't remember the title of it. From what I remember, the first half or so was not bad, but then Geller escapes from somewhere and then suddenly it turns into Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

Whaaaat?, Thursday, 23 September 2004 01:05 (eighteen years ago) link

I love Lair of the White Worm.
I dunno, my dad was a big fan and took me to Tommy at the cinema more than once when I was 14 - it was one of my favourites at the time. But now I just feel kind of traumatised by the whole experience! There was an odd doco he made about himself I saw way back then too.

cuspidorian (cuspidorian), Monday, 27 September 2004 11:57 (eighteen years ago) link

"Altered States" if only for when Willaim Hurt turs into a cave man!

latebloomer (latebloomer), Monday, 27 September 2004 22:10 (eighteen years ago) link

How could I forget Lair Of The White Worm. I love that movie!

PVC (peeveecee), Thursday, 30 September 2004 21:08 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...

Best Hugh Grant line ever... "I believe we probably have another reptile on the premises"

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 24 July 2007 07:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Much love for Altered States and most notably, The Devils.

Girolamo Savonarola, Tuesday, 24 July 2007 21:22 (fifteen years ago) link

I can't tell his good apart from his bad anymore. I used to be able to, and now Lisztomania is my favorite. Don't let this happen to you.

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 25 July 2007 21:30 (fifteen years ago) link

He understood the brilliance of Theresa Russell. Whore being one of my fave Theresa Russell movies. Right after Roeg's Eureka and Track 29 and Sondra Locke's Impulse.

scott seward, Thursday, 26 July 2007 13:53 (fifteen years ago) link

i love both russell's and roeg's good/awful ratios. they mirror depalma in that regard. their badness is superbad.

scott seward, Thursday, 26 July 2007 13:57 (fifteen years ago) link

i keep forgetting that on this board you have to wait for the note in the bottle that you threw in the ocean to reach shore before anyone can respond.

scott seward, Thursday, 26 July 2007 17:13 (fifteen years ago) link

No, I think he's a genius, and it's a damn shame he's come to be seen as an unbankable pariah. You always get that wild over-the-top quality, for good or ill.

I'm afraid Ken looks highly likely to be 'rediscovered' by the British movie establishment the morning after he's safely gone. Still, he obviously doesn't care one bit - it's great that he's still making home movies with a cast of neighbours. fans and London goths. I have to pick up 'Louse of Usher' one of these days. Sort of dread it, but it won't be dull.

Soukesian, Thursday, 26 July 2007 21:18 (fifteen years ago) link

I love this guy and echo the sentiments above about how he's so marginalised these days. The more over-the-top the better in my opinions, so my favourites are Lair of the White Worm, Salome's Last Dance, Gothic, Tommy, Altered States. There's quite a few I've not seen yet. The most recent thing I saw was from the 90's and was a section of a three part "erotic thriller" videos. Not over-the-top at all and therefore pretty poor.

I love all the little Ken-isms that crop up in his movies: "oh look, that woman has a penis!", "Mummy, what's that nun doing with the crucifix" etc.

everything, Thursday, 26 July 2007 22:50 (fifteen years ago) link

"Ken takes a baroque glee in everything that he does; it is impossible for him to put anything dull in front of a camera. If it's over-the-top it's OTT better than anyone else." - David Watkin, cinematographer for several of his films

Girolamo Savonarola, Friday, 27 July 2007 06:56 (fifteen years ago) link

Hollywood reasoning that leads to a favourable decision may be equally beside the point. After one of his pictures had made them a lot of money Ken Russell was invited to LA to discuss what he would like to do next. Ken, who always has a dozen different ideas for projects, went through all of them but without arousing any interest.

"Isn't there anything else you'd like to do?"

Ken though for a moment.

"I could make a film about Tchaikowsky."

"Who's he?"

Wisely Ken said nothing about music.

"He was a homosexual who married a nymphomaniac."

"Right - we'll do it."

- also from Watkin's book

Girolamo Savonarola, Friday, 27 July 2007 07:07 (fifteen years ago) link

Ken thought for a moment

Girolamo Savonarola, Friday, 27 July 2007 07:07 (fifteen years ago) link

There is a decent, interesting, sort of career overview in the july sight and sound - also online here...

Jeff LeVine, Friday, 27 July 2007 08:13 (fifteen years ago) link

Great piece. I like the Michael Powell comparison.

Soukesian, Friday, 27 July 2007 18:49 (fifteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Hold my hand. It's like touching the dead, isn't it?

W4LTER, Friday, 17 August 2007 02:00 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...

I used to be able to, and now Lisztomania is my favorite. Don't let this happen to you.


tokyo rosemary, Friday, 31 October 2008 01:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Saw Mahler via Lovefilm for the first time for well over a decade, and was bowled over by it all over again. Incredible. A Russell box set with commentaries would be a wonderful thing. I'd barricade the doors and watch the lot over a weekend.

Still to see: the early BBC docs, Liztomania, The Boyfriend.

Soukesian, Monday, 3 November 2008 19:50 (fourteen years ago) link

keep reading this as "Keri Russell: S/D" and thinking it wil lbe a compendium of heave's favorites

HOOS HOOS HOOS on the autosteen (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Monday, 3 November 2008 20:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Hadn't seen the Russell at the Beeb box, thanks! (Pity about Seven Veils, though.)

Soukesian, Monday, 3 November 2008 21:29 (fourteen years ago) link

six months pass...

Saw Crimes of Passion last night. Great stuff: wild switches of tone, screwball dialogue, some pretty full-on kink, and lots of characteristic Russell stuff half buried in the 80's cheesiness: unexplained cuts to classic erotic art images which show stuff he couldn't otherwise get past the censors, a black and white sequence, and a classic Russell dream sequence inserted as a rock video on cable TV. Turner and Perkins are just great, the rest of the cast much less so, but there are some bleak relationship break-up scenes which give the film a real edge.

Soukesian, Sunday, 10 May 2009 11:34 (thirteen years ago) link

that's how I remember it, plus the young male lead had a rockin' body

Dr Morbius, Monday, 11 May 2009 23:48 (thirteen years ago) link

two months pass...

Finally saw Liszomania tonight. Awesome. Words fail.

Soukesian, Thursday, 6 August 2009 22:49 (thirteen years ago) link

More or less got my breath back. It's kind of a compromise between Tommy and Mahler, and isn't as successful as either overall: the modern linking songs are pretty poor, and it's a little overlong. However, the set pieces must be the most jaw-dropping Russell ever filmed. The Princess Caroline dream sequence - the one with the giant phallus - could be his masterpiece. The outrageousness of this is then trumped several times over by what follows. All this and cameos from Ringo and Little Nell Campbell.

If you haven't seen this, and you enjoy what Ken Russell does, don't put it off a second longer!

Soukesian, Friday, 7 August 2009 17:43 (thirteen years ago) link

four months pass...

'Seven Veils' has been upped to YouTube, grab it before it goes

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 20:35 (twelve years ago) link

sorry, link here:

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 8 December 2009 20:35 (twelve years ago) link

The only one I actually liked was 'Women In Love.'Anything by Lawrence is going to seem campy, but the acting was good, the production lavish and it caught the feel of the period in which it was made ( 1969) as well as when it was set.
It did lack the genuine eroticism of 'The Rainbow', but that was only due to the cunningly displayed charms of Sammi Davis( an object of my lust in my middle years, last seen as Cholly's Mum on 'Lost'.)
'The Plumed Serpent' seems an obvious choice to adapt. Has it been done?

Carl, Friday, 18 December 2009 19:58 (twelve years ago) link

Ken is absolutely on fire with "Seven Veils". Could be his masterpiece. It's a crime that this is banned and unobtainable.

Soukesian, Friday, 18 December 2009 22:39 (twelve years ago) link

six months pass...

Still buzzing after this afternoon's screening of "Savage Messiah" at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, presented by Ken himself, visibly moved by a standing ovation.

I wasn't sure what to expect of the movie, but it's way up there with his best work, and seems to be a very personal project. Do not miss any chance you get to see it. The print wasn't in great shape, and this surely deserves a proper digital restoration . . like so much of his filmography. Off to IMDB to read up on the background - apparently the star has "vanished off the face of the earth" after giving this powerhouse performance, though everyone involved gives it total commitment. (Helen Mirren is absolutely devastating in a supporting role. If you've ever liked her in anything, you need this.)

Soukesian, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 22:19 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

I'd never even HEARD of Savage Messiah, and it's part of the NYC retro about to start (w/ KR Q&As):

In fact I've only seen 3 of his films: The Devils, Altered States, and Crimes of Passion. I'm skipping Women in Love til I've read Lawrence.

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 29 July 2010 01:52 (twelve years ago) link

WIL is the only one of his movies (that I've seen) I can stand, only because it's so well-cast; and you'll dig the nude wrestling scene b/w Oliver Platt and Alan Bates. But, yeah, it makes a hash out of the Lawrence novel.

balls and adieu (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 July 2010 01:55 (twelve years ago) link

Oliver PLATT, shame on you.

I've seen that scene.

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 29 July 2010 01:56 (twelve years ago) link

Wish I could be at the NYC retro. I'm following Ken on Facebook, and he seems to be having a whale of a time showing his movies round the world - latest post has him leading an audience singalong to "The D'Hampton worm" at a "Lair . ." screening. Great to see him finally getting his moment of triumph.

Cracked the "Russell at the BBC" box last night with "Isadora Duncan" - incredible stuff, the equal of his cinema work, even on a BBC budget.

Soukesian, Thursday, 29 July 2010 18:57 (twelve years ago) link

mostly praise from Armond (tho I'd like to see Whore too):

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 30 July 2010 19:30 (twelve years ago) link

yeah, he's in attendance at the devils screening tonight, sold out natch

(e_3) (Edward III), Friday, 30 July 2010 19:31 (twelve years ago) link

wasn't it Oliver Reed?

sarahel, Friday, 30 July 2010 19:33 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah -- I was teasing Morbs.

balls and adieu (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 July 2010 19:34 (twelve years ago) link

A Platt-Bates wrestling scene would work, now that Bates is dead.

balls and adieu (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 July 2010 19:35 (twelve years ago) link

i think WiL was the first time I saw a movie with Oliver Reed pre-bloat, and it made me understand a lot about my mother.

sarahel, Friday, 30 July 2010 19:35 (twelve years ago) link

Oliver Platt and Kathy Bates -- THAT'd be a nude wrestling scene!

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 30 July 2010 19:35 (twelve years ago) link

Sorry for the thread derail, but I didn't know this about the late Alan Bates.

balls and adieu (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 July 2010 19:38 (twelve years ago) link

I had forgotten so much of The Devils.

It's kind of annoyingly hysterical, isn't it?

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 1 August 2010 16:21 (twelve years ago) link

I don't know, I've only been able to see it the once. I tend to blame annoyingly hysterical people for that, though last I heard the owners of the rights couldn't be bothered to do a proper rerelease. It's not like it's a notorious and much-banned cult movie with a ready-made audience, I suppose.

Soukesian, Tuesday, 3 August 2010 16:58 (twelve years ago) link

A Toronto rep is showing The Devils "uncut" later this month, with Russell in attendance. The only Russell films I've ever seen are Altered States and The Lair of the White Worm--my sense of him has always been that his movies are hysterical, and Altered States didn't do anything to dispel that--but him being there might be enough to get me out.

clemenza, Sunday, 8 August 2010 03:55 (twelve years ago) link

eight months pass...

Great news! (Though about bloody time!) Savage Messiah is a key work, a personally funded project which I believe is very important to Ken. And it has Helen Mirren coming down the stairs, and the Vortex club sequence. The Boyfriend is one of the last big gaps in his filmography I've still to experience - one of those films I've been hunting for over a decade. Fabulous 70's Nouveau box art!

Soukesian, Friday, 15 April 2011 07:19 (eleven years ago) link

ten months pass...

for anyone in london theres going to be a russell forever season from the ppl that did scala forever last year -

cant wait

titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 05:26 (ten years ago) link

ppl on the criterion board were talking abt the extras on the new dvd edition of 'the devils' coming out & someone posted:

I hope that includes the send-off where Kermode thanks him for making one of the ten best films of all time and Russell says "Yeah! Lair of the White Worm!", and brought the house down. It was easily the best Q&A wrapping-up I've ever heard.

i just watched 'lair of the white worm' for the first time - it was really great! ken otm

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 28 February 2012 01:50 (ten years ago) link



muus lääv? :D muus dut :( (Telephone thing), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 03:30 (ten years ago) link

BFI is doing it in March I think. DVD only, no Blu.

Mike Love Costume Jewelry on Etsy (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 05:51 (ten years ago) link

six months pass...

watching Amelia and the Angel, previously on a guardian dvd, now available here:

wondering where the big diused station that appears about 12mins in is. other locations are south kensington tube and hyde park(?) and middleton grove (N7)

koogs, Monday, 10 September 2012 19:10 (ten years ago) link

two weeks pass...

turds (Hungry4Ass), Saturday, 29 September 2012 17:40 (ten years ago) link

two years pass...

So far I've seen, in no order..

The Devils
The Music Lovers
Altered States
Lair Of The White Worm
Savage Messiah
Crimes Of Passion
Dance Of Seven Veils
Women In Love
The Rainbow
A Kitten For Hitler (short)
Amelia And The Angel (short)

Some music videos (Pandoras Box, Elton John, Cliff Richard, Sarah Brightman), surprisingly boring. I've seen his segment (which is nothing special) of Aria but not the entire film.

I'm actually amazed how much I've seen because it doesn't feel nearly that many. I enjoyed the majority, even something as messy as Gothic was worth seeing. It was mainly A Kitten For Hitler and the music videos that were boring. Although The Rainbow is a tad dull.

I've probably seen most of the best stuff but there's still a he'll of a lot more, much of it difficult to find.
I've heard some of his novels are amazing too.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 1 November 2014 21:58 (eight years ago) link

I'm very fond of the Rainbow. I've never read the novel, but I've read a few D H Lawrence enthusiasts term it a travesty?

mary nobody (soref), Saturday, 1 November 2014 22:02 (eight years ago) link

I seem to remember Paul McGann's bare arse featuring quite a lot

mary nobody (soref), Saturday, 1 November 2014 22:03 (eight years ago) link

a thoughtful Doctor Who fan has made a gif:

mary nobody (soref), Saturday, 1 November 2014 22:07 (eight years ago) link

definitely watch the early composer bios: debussy film, song of summer, elgar, etc

clouds, Saturday, 1 November 2014 22:13 (eight years ago) link

It's weird, I thought the BBC box set would surely be a region 2 DVD but it's American. I'll get it anyway.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 1 November 2014 22:30 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

Two Ken Russell dual format sets coming out

Four films by Ken Russell

The second of BFI's Ken Russell releases is another two disc collection bringing together four films from 1965-1967.

The collection opens with Always on Sunday a dramatized examination of the painter Henri Rousseau. The combination of Russell reuniting with Melvyn Bragg and Oliver Reed and Russell's infectious love of the film's subject results in a film which is illuminating in every frame. Isadora: The Biggest Dancer in the World (1966), a study of the outrageous American dancer, Isadora Duncan, starring Vivian Pickles as the dancer whose obsession with the importance of art and complete disdain for decorum chimes perfectly with Russell's own sensibility. Last of the TV dramas is Dante's Inferno (1967) which tells of the complex relationship between the 19th century artist and poet, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his model Elizabeth Siddal.

The films in this collection have been remastered to High Definition, and are presented on Blu-ray for the very first time.

Special features
Late Night Line-up: Ken Russell at Work (1966): documentary showing Russell at work on various BBC TV documentaries, discussing his methods and filmmaking philosophy
Interview with editor Michael Bradsell (2015): the editor discusses his work with Ken Russell
Illustrated booklet with essays and full credits
1965-1967 | 202 minutes | 2 x DVD9 | 1 x BD50 | Other details TBC


Three films by Ken Russell

A Dual Format Edition collection bringing together the career defining work of Ken Russell at the BBC. Russell's work during the sixties for award-winning arts documentary series Monitor and Omnibus were critically-acclaimed and often seen as a high point in his filmmaking.

The first of the three films, Elgar (1962), portrays in vigorous style the life of the English composer Sir Edward Elgar, with Huw Wheldon narrating his life story over beautiful mountain scenery. The Debussy Film (1965), Russell's penultimate film for Monitor was an ambitious work about the composer s life, written by Melvyn Bragg and starring Oliver Reed as Claude Debussy. Delius: Song of Summer (1968) is generally regarded (not least by its director) as Russell's best television film with many critics citing it as his finest work in any medium. The story traces Eric Fenby and is based on his memoirs of trying to help the blind and paralysed composer Frederick Delius.

The films in this collection have been remastered to High Definition, and are presented on Blu-ray for the very first time

Special features
Elgar commentary by Michael Kennedy and Ken Russell
Delius: Song of Summer commentary by Ken Russell
Other extras TBC
Illustrated booklet with essays and full credits
1962-1968 | black & white | 210 minutes | 2 X DVD9 | 1 X BD50 | Other details TBC

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 5 January 2016 01:22 (six years ago) link

excellent, have not seen any of those. coincidentally, watched (most of) lisztomania yesterday for the first time in a loooong time & guess i was much more receptive to the over-the-topness of it all in my teens. the mahler biopic is more my speed these days.

no lime tangier, Tuesday, 5 January 2016 03:16 (six years ago) link

three weeks pass...

just watched the devils for the first time. p amazing, loved the look of the town and the convent. vanessa redgrave hilarious.

pandemic, Friday, 29 January 2016 18:40 (six years ago) link

two years pass...

Gonna rematch WIL for the first time in twenty years – since reading the novel in college.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 8 May 2018 20:19 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

Got both the Great Composers and Great Passions blurays which contain what was previously in the Ken Russell At The BBC dvd set but with lots of new extras. Would have been better if they had just kept it all in one box rather than splitting it into two releases.

I've always dragged my heels about getting this stuff (although I did see Dance Of Seven Veils on youtube years ago since it was omitted from these sets for legal reasons) because people who don't like Russell's more over the top films (which I like a lot) tend to prefer these BBC films, I thought they might be a bit boring and lacking character, but they're all great, most of them are as good as his most famous films.

Elgar is the most like a documentary, all the actors are viewed from a distance and there is no dialogue from them, just a documentary voiceover, easily the most quiet and restrained of the bunch.

The Debussy Film is an almost schizoprhrenic mixture of drama, making of and documentary and works very well.

Song Of Summer (about Delius) is probably the best film of the lot and I can understand why some people think it's one of the best films Russell ever made. All the characters are beautifully portrayed and it comes to life as a story more than the other BBC films)

Always On A Sunday (about Henri Rousseau) Lovely little film that focuses on Rousseau's supposed naivety. I had been wondering about this painting style recently (particularly the tropical paintings) and I'm glad I found out who originated it.

Isadora (about Isadora Duncan) Most of the artists/musicians in Ken Russell's films are kind of manic and irrepressible, laughing and jumping around a lot and I wonder how often it's true to the people. Along with Savage Messiah, Isadora probably epitomizes this and it seems credible given the events of Isadora Duncan's life.

Dante's Inferno (about Dante Gabriel Rossetti) I think perhaps Russell might have sacrificed the flow of the story a bit too much in favour of the morbidly sensational parts but I still had a great time with this Gala Mitchell has a really incredible face, no surprise that she was a fashion model but not many of her shoots survive online and only appeared in 3 films sadly.

Oliver Reed stars in two of the films. Surprised to find out about the writers who figured so importantly in some of the lives of these people (Rousseau/Alfred Jarry, Debussy/Pierre Louys/Maurice Maeterlinck, Isadora Duncan/Sergei Yesenin)

I'm left wondering about all the other BBC films, are they lost or something? Really want to see more and should see The Boyfriend, Valentino and Whore sometime.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 3 March 2019 11:39 (three years ago) link

A shame Izabella Telezynska didn't have bigger roles. She's in a lot of these early Ken Russell films and I thought she was quite memorable in The Music Lovers. Kind of a quietly powerful actress.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 9 March 2019 12:33 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

Valentino has quite a bit of iffy acting and accents, but its very watchable and quite fun sometimes, especially the dancing and design.

BFI disc has some good interviews, including Ken Russell talking about various films that died in development hell, film studio bosses willing to lose huge amounts of money over petty grudges and a funny bit about a woman in an opera house scolding him for wearing a t-shirt.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 21 April 2019 16:53 (three years ago) link

Got the Warner Archive disc of The Boyfriend (the only disc with the whole film? I've heard the others are butcher jobs). It's wonderful, up among Russell's best films.
Kind of similar to the Debussy film in that it has a few layers it switches between: it's a musical in which a stage musical is taking place and there are several sequences that are the fantasies of the people in the theatre.
It's very detailed and a lot of fun to see how the members of the cast try to undermine each other. Liked the costumes that exaggerated the tallness of the American tap dancer, how the director dances in front of the actors before the curtain falls and how the makeup makes some of the actresses' eyes look huge. It's stuffed with goodness.

Now that I've exhausted all his really big studio films (wish there was 20 more of them), I guess Whore is my next stop. I cant be arsed with Billion Dollar Brain and people say it doesn't feel like one of his films for most of the time.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 27 April 2019 15:57 (three years ago) link

There are really Russelly sequences in BDB iirc

After Cease to Brexist (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 27 April 2019 16:08 (three years ago) link

I might get round to it eventually but it really doesn't look like something I'd enjoy. Looks too much like James Bond.

I really like Christopher Gable, he's got such a likeable face.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 27 April 2019 16:25 (three years ago) link

eleven months pass...

Whore - It's based on a play by David Hines (based on his time as a cab driver talking to prostitutes). Was supposed to be set in britain but he couldn't get anyone in britain interested (not shocked) so it had to be an american film. Had a very hard time getting an actress. Apparently Russell wanted this to be a mocking response to Pretty Woman.

Seen people saying Theresa Russell (who talks to the audience for much of the film) is either great or awful. I think she's a bit iffy but better in the quieter moments. Antonio Fargas was my favorite. Jack Nance and Danny Trejo make brief appearances. I'm wondering if it was deliberate or coincidence that Nance has a Twin Peaks-ish moment of discovering Theresa Russell.

It's pretty gutsy, even for Ken Russell and might have been great with a slightly better script, slightly bigger budget and better star (perhaps lucky he could get anyone). A lot better than I had expected.

Couldn't get the uncut version.

I guess now I'm left to youtube hunting his remaining tv films, but I'm still reluctant to see anything where he was said to be merely a hired hand (Prisoner Of Honor, Lady Chatterley, Dogboys). Can I find his stupid Uri Geller film?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 28 March 2020 17:48 (two years ago) link

I somehow forgotten to list Salome's Last Dance in my rankings, the film is mostly good because of the star, who sadly never continued acting because of her health. If I had the means or knowledge I've always wanted to make a gif of her wriggling her fingers in anticipation. She was great.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 29 March 2020 20:19 (two years ago) link

four months pass...

Secret Life Of Arnold Bax (90s tv movie on youtube). Ken Russell plays Bax; it's about his affairs with various women, Glenda Jackson is his longterm pianist girlfriend. Film seems to suggest that John Ireland was into really young boys. It's fairly enjoyable.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 2 August 2020 18:38 (two years ago) link

In Search Of The English Folk Song - This is pretty silly at times but that's hardly a surprise. Ken sings to his dog and an Edward II performance is shown alongside clips of a parade that has lots of blackface dancers (some sort of event representing different cultures). The big names start appearing a bit later, I was really impressed by Chris While singing for Albion Band (I'll need to track down Albion Band - Demi Paradise). I didn't expect Osibisa.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 10 August 2020 18:30 (two years ago) link

Peepshow - short silent film from the 50s, I couldn't really follow it well but it featured beggars, robbers, a magician and a woman dressed like a doll-ish clown.

Antonio Gaudi - early 60s simple short documentary. It's perfectly fine but doesn't have any real film-like qualities.

These next two TV films from the 90s...

The Strange Affliction Of Anton Bruckner - Bruckner goes to a sanatorium and I'm fairly sure he has OCD and none of the treatments seem very helpful. He's a very gentle character and he develops a close relationship with a nurse. I doubt it stuck very closely to what really happened but it's nice.

The Mystery Of Dr Martinu - In the first half, Bohuslav Martinu wanders through strange obstacles and memories; these are later on revealed to be dreams that are decoded by Martinu, his friend and his wife for the remainder. It works much better than you might imagine and it might be the oddest of Russell's TV films?
I'm not familiar with Patrick Ryecart, apparently he's done loads of british television I've somehow never seen but I thought his voice was very impressive.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 18 August 2020 18:31 (two years ago) link

one month passes...


In the mid-1980s film director Ken Russell and pornographer Bob Guccione fell out over a failed attempt to film the novel Moll Flanders. A lawsuit ensued, in which the relatively impecunious Ken Russell found himself facing the vast might of the Penthouse corporation. Russell however managed to reach an arrangement with celebrity lawyer Aaron Richard Golub. Golub was interested in launching a musical career, so Russell agreed to direct a music video for him in lieu of paying legal fees.

The lawyer had previously directed his own video as Golub Rap Cinema, for the song He Is My Lawyer by his band Power Of Attorney, which included Jerry Orbach. Here is Russell's vmic followup, shot at Sing Sing, for Golub's Dancing For Justice:

(Amazingly, the lawyer's rapping seems to have gotten considerably worse between the first and second song.)

Covidiots from UHF (sic), Saturday, 17 October 2020 23:38 (two years ago) link

Thanks, that was fun. Probably the best music video I've seen by him but his others are curiously underwhelming because you'd think he'd excel at them.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:18 (two years ago) link

yeah, I got to it by reading that he'd done videos including Nikita by Elton John, then watching that and being far from whelmed.

Covidiots from UHF (sic), Sunday, 18 October 2020 19:58 (two years ago) link

oh my god, thank you for this revive

it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Monday, 19 October 2020 13:49 (two years ago) link

seven months pass...

Wow kudos to the digital artist who was able to sneak one of the nuns from Ken Russell's The Devils into a background shot of Space Jam 2

— Mike Sampson (@mjsamps) June 9, 2021

blue whales on ambient (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 18:29 (one year ago) link

Ken Russell did a masterclass thing when I was at film school and it was a disaster.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 18:31 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Always thought he looked like Simon Amstell and was pretty funny in The Devils. Kind of pleased but not surprised he has some serious fans, he was very good looking.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 6 October 2021 18:36 (one year ago) link

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