Vintage director Ken Russell has died aged 84
If you haven't seen the films Women in Love, The Devils, The Rainbow and Tommy then I urge you to purchase them today in honour of their director Ken Russell who died yesterday in his sleep at age 84. He was a flamboyant little devil who liked to be controversial and as a child if one of his films was repeated and came on TV late at night when I was staying at my grandparents I would secretly hope no one would notice how adult they were as they were a tad naughty to say the least. It would never happen at home though as my brother S and I were sent to bed at 7pm sharp every night for what seemed like years and years...
Women in Love (1969) had a very sexy male nude wrestling scene with Alan Bates and Oliver Reed and was an adaptation of the DH Lawrence novel. I had no idea of the homo-erotic implications of that scene when I was a child but the fact the two men were nude was very fascinating. The lead actress Glenda Jackson won an Oscar for this film and Ken Russell was nominated for Best Director.
The Devils (1971) was known for another infamous scene (never actually shown) where Vaness Redgrave and Oliver Reed sexualised the crucifixion - it will finally be seen in all its glory next year at a film festival a staggering 42 years after it was first shot.
Most of his films were adult-themed and one of my favourites (although not a critical success) was The Music Lovers (1970) which I was told about twenty years after it was made. It was a biopic of Tchaikovsky and had Richard Chamberlain (remember him as the priest in the Thorn Birds?) and Glenda Jackson again. The music is amazing in the film as the score was by André Previn.
Ken Russell did appear in Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 but walked out after a row with Jade Goody. That last sentence is the least interesting thing about him but some of you may just remember him from that. Instead do watch some of his films from the 1960s and 1970s as it was director's like him that enabled our generation to have the freedoms to watch more progressive cinema.
Love Lovely x