Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Old 11-28-11, 05:38 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 1,054
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

The Devils, Women in Love, Tommy enough said. Great director:

LONDON (AP) Ken Russell, the British director whose daring and sometimes outrageous films often tested the patience of audiences and critics, has died at age 84.

Russell died in a hospital on Sunday following a series of strokes, his son Alex Verney-Elliott said Monday.

One of Russell's biggest successes came in 1969 with "Women in Love," based on the book by D.H. Lawrence, which earned Academy Award nominations for the director and for writer Larry Kramer, and an Oscar for the star, Glenda Jackson.

Music played a central role in many of Russell's films including "The Music Lovers" in 1970, and "Lisztomania" and "Tommy" in 1975.

"My father died peacefully," Verney-Elliott said. "He had had a series of strokes. He died with a smile on his face."

Russell established himself by making short films for the British Broadcasting Corp., focusing on arts and artists including profiles of the poet John Betjeman, comedian Spike Milligan and playwright Shelagh Delaney, the author of "A Taste of Honey."

"When there were no more live artists left, we turned to making somewhat longer films about dead artists such as Prokofiev," Russell once said.

"At first we were only allowed to use still photographs and newsreel footage of these subjects, but eventually we sneaked in the odd hand playing the piano (in 'Prokofiev') and the odd back walking through a door. By the time a couple of years had gone by, those boring little factual accounts of the artists had evolved into evocative films of an hour or more which used real actors to impersonate the historical figures."

Russell's darker side appeared in "Dante's Inferno" in 1967, about the poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Russell played up the differences between Rossetti's idealized view of his wife and her reality as a drug addict.

Russell was even more provocative in his 1970 film, "The Dance of the Seven Veils: A Comic Strip in Seven Episodes." It presents the composer Richard Strauss as a crypto-Nazi, and showed him conducting Rosenkavalier waltzes while SS men tortured a Jew.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...378486e1adc120

Photobucket

Last edited by Paul1957; 11-28-11 at 03:27 PM.
Old 11-28-11, 06:09 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
riotinmyskull's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: portsmouth, va
Posts: 9,176
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

well damn
Old 11-28-11, 09:27 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Troy Stiffler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Under an I-10 Overpass
Posts: 24,601
Received 192 Likes on 142 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Damn. I LOVE most of Ken Russell's movies! The subject matter was always strong and opens you up to new ideas.
Old 11-28-11, 10:37 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,923
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

This makes me sick, the amount of disrespect his work has gotten. Now that he is gone he wont be able to see his work re-examined and championed like it should have
Old 11-28-11, 10:41 AM
  #5  
Moderator
 
Geofferson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: The Village Green
Posts: 39,626
Received 64 Likes on 53 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Definitely ahead of his time.
Old 11-28-11, 10:55 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Relocated to Bot-Hell
Posts: 11,571
Received 192 Likes on 145 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

RIP, Mr. Russell.
Old 11-28-11, 12:22 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Hokeyboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 20,205
Received 583 Likes on 360 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

RIP. I wasn't the biggest fan of his work, but I loved the feverish excesses he seemed to champion in his art. That and "Altered States" absolutely blew my mind when I was 10.
Old 11-28-11, 02:13 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
SethDLH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Maryland
Posts: 5,729
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

This was awful news to wake up to this morning. I did a rather short write up at my blog about it. Link is in my sig.
Old 11-28-11, 02:19 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Mondo Kane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 11,559
Received 91 Likes on 81 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

I have to thank Mr. Russell for giving us the most sexiest she-beast ever
Old 11-28-11, 03:31 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
SethDLH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Maryland
Posts: 5,729
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

I love Lair Of The White Worm
Old 11-28-11, 04:59 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
inri222's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 50,673
Received 179 Likes on 118 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

RIP to one of the greats.
Never afraid to push the envelope.


Last edited by inri222; 11-28-11 at 05:35 PM.
Old 11-28-11, 05:00 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Trencher's Farm
Posts: 2,074
Received 15 Likes on 11 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Ken Russell was as responsible for my love of movies as anyone - RIP
Old 11-30-11, 11:59 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
inri222's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 50,673
Received 179 Likes on 118 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/...peter-bradshaw

Ken Russell: his film career was one colossal, chaotic rhapsody

The defiant romantic of British cinema never lacked for critics but his prime inspiration was surely in music

Peter Bradshaw guardian.co.uk, Monday 28 November 2011 13.42 EST

Part glam rocker, part wild-haired conductor, Ken Russell was the populist maestro of the screen, the great defiant romantic of British cinema. Russell's films showed his great love for music and composers: Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Delius, Strauss, Liszt and Sandy Wilson and Roger Daltrey. Other film-makers might have found their creative impetus in novels or plays; Russell's inspiration was surely primarily in music. His ideas, his images, his rows, his career itself were all one colossal, chaotic rhapsody.

His adventures were a rebuke to British parochialism, literalism and complacency, and he had something of Kubrick's flair for startling or mind-bending spectacle. Russell gave us the nude wrestling scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in the Oscar-winning Women In Love (1969) in which each actor, with Russell's cheerful consent, was said to have taken tentative solo measures between takes to ensure his manhood looked, on camera, as impressive as legally possible.

He electrified the cinema world with his still controversial The Devils (1971) a version of Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun and a radical, satirical critique of power in which Vanessa Redgrave's nun has a sexual encounter with the Crucified Christ.

In his rock-opera Tommy (1975), in which Ann-Margret frolicked in baked beans, the world of modernity was shown to have its genesis in the personal agonies and abuses of the second world war. It was as if Russell looked around at the stupefying dullness of Britain in the Heath/Wilson era and thought: what can I do to shake this lot up? "I conduct to live; I live to compose," says Robert Powell in Russell's 1974 movie, Mahler and perhaps Russell, in his heart, admired the clarity and calm of an artist who could keep distinct money-making endeavour in the public sphere, and creative labour in private.

Russell's career heyday of the 1970s was a spectacular, raucous era right up there on the conductor's podium, thrashing his arms around as the over-the-top music swelled around him.

As the audiences tittered or melted away, Russell would heroically keep on plying his baton, occasionally turning to jab it gleefully into the odd critic's bum. And he never lacked for critics who jeered that he was silly, shallow, with no innate expression or judgment but a hit-and-miss flair for making box office cash registers ring: a deaf-dumb-and-blind-kid who just played a mean pinball.

Russell began his career with the BBC on the arts programme Monitor, and made broadcasting history by making one subject last for a whole hour-long programme: Elgar.

The tone was set in this shrewd, heartfelt, useful introduction to a composer in whose music was a pulsating world of wonder and passion. Russell sought to approximate, on screen, far more of the grandeur and feeling of the music than might normally be the case in a documentary, using dramatic reconstructions and by straying, intentionally, into the arena of the feature film, and fiction itself.

His films about composers were variations on a biographical theme, narrative cadenzas, taking liberties which were more and more extreme, and with Lisztomania (1975), becoming a fantasy which was, according to taste, daft, or surreal, or inspired, or all three. Russell's fans and collaborators had the conviction that you never achieve anything with polite good taste.

He made a star out of Reed, a Russell regular who was also a Russell doppelganger. What Johnny Depp is to Tim Burton, Ollie Reed was to Ken Russell. Something of Reed's brawling, confrontational spirit had within it the ghost of Russell. Long after Russell had vanished from the working world of the cinema, Reed carried on his flame of bolshiness which wasn't all down to drink. When TV audiences gasped at Reed pawing and insulting Kate Millett on a Channel 4 chat show, some might have remembered Russell whacking critic Alexander Walker over the head with a rolled-up copy of the London Evening Standard after Walker's attack on The Devils.

The 80s and 90s did not see any great diminution in Russell's skills but a turning of the zeitgeist away from his shock cinema. His florid fantasies were found to be shrill, although his sci-fi movie Altered States (1980) enjoyed some success and his Gothic (1986) and The Lair Of The White Worm (1988) were disquieting fantasies whose reputation continues to grow.

At the end of his life, Russell worked on self-financed, micro-budget, experimental films. And he virtually re-invented the concept of underground cinema if only in his house and garden.

It is perhaps for The Devils that Russell's name will come to rest, especially as it emerges from censorship and a new DVD edition is about to come out. It is an uncompromising transgressive fantasy, an operatic orgy of the forbidden, and a truly anarchic film; perhaps as challenging as Pasolini, or more challenging.

Russell was a great upsetter of the apple cart, and like Edward Bond or Dennis Potter, it was his destiny to receive a mixed and grudging reaction on his home turf. Yet his career was always a courageous statement of faith in the power of imagination
Old 11-30-11, 03:30 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
joe_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,274
Received 42 Likes on 28 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Crimes of Passion is an underrated film. Probably my favorite Kathleen Turner performance (hard to forget China Blue). Also, Lisztomania is one of the craziest movies I've ever seen. It's hard to top a bunch of ladies doing a kick line in front of a colossal penis... and what other director would think to portray composer Richard Wagner as a laser-shooting Frankenstein/vampire/Nazi? I can't believe it's not out in Region 1.

Rest in peace, Ken Russell.
Old 03-02-12, 02:03 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 1,054
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Posted this in the International DVD thread but thought I'd post it here. Looks like an awesome dvd of THE DEVILS. No blu-ray but a start.

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film3/dvd_r...the_devils.htm
Old 03-02-12, 04:12 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
riotinmyskull's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: portsmouth, va
Posts: 9,176
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

damnit...

Old 03-02-12, 07:42 AM
  #17  
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Formerly known as "Solid Snake PAC"/Denton, Tx
Posts: 39,239
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Originally Posted by riotinmyskull View Post
damnit...

this...

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.