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Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Re: Ken Russell in Print
« Last post by BoyScoutKevin on March 19, 2017, 09:43:51 PM »
Continuing . . .

Joseph Lanza
Phallic Frenzy

Ken apparently experienced--personally--conflicts between the horrorific and the erotic, the neurotic and the visionary, the puerile and the profound. Just like in his "Lair of the White Worm" and his other films.

Maybe because he was so often a victim of sexual molestation. If what is said was true, then there was the man on the bicycle who flashed him. The Afro-American serviceman who flashed him in the forest. And the man sitting next to him, who fondled him, while they were watching Pinocchio in the theater.

While the subjects in Women in Love would be dealt with by Ken in his later films. It is considered one of his tamer films by some critics.

As for Valentino, Ken's opinion of his film have ranged from ambivalence to disdain.

When he attended the Royal Naval College in Pangbourne in 1941, the other cadets often accused him of having b.o. Like the boy scout in Lair of the White Worm, who is also accused of having b.o. by the villainess in the film, who then drowns him in her tub. Though, as far as we know, Ken was never drowned while taking a bath in the tub by the other cadets.

To be continued . . .
Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Ken Russell in Print
« Last post by BoyScoutKevin on March 09, 2017, 09:34:28 PM »
We have seen Ken in film. We have seen Ken on TV. Now, see him in print.

Richard Crouse
Raising Hell :
Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils

At least in one interview, he denied that The Devils was a horror film. If so, he'd be the only one.

The writer describes Ken Russell as . . .
--slightly cantankerous
Just like his movies.

It is hard to believe, but come this year's November, Ken will have been gone 6 years.

To be continued . . .
Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Glenda Jackson talking in London
« Last post by Iain Fisher on March 04, 2017, 08:18:28 PM »
Glenda talking about her life on Sunday 5 March 2017 at the Cinema Museum London.
Athol Fugard discussion / The Island in London
« Last post by Iain Fisher on March 02, 2017, 09:49:08 PM »
The Theatre Chipping Norton and Dukes Lancaster present The Island from 31 May- 24 Jun 2017.  It is on at Southwark Playhouse, London.  More details soon.
Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / The Boy Friend in London
« Last post by Iain Fisher on February 26, 2017, 11:07:03 PM »
The Boyfriend will be shown at the BFI in London on 1 March 2017.  There is an introduction by Pamela Church Gibson of the London College of Fashion, and Glenda Jackson and Georgina Hale will probably be attending.

Details are here
Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Re: Ken Russell's Dracula
« Last post by BoyScoutKevin on February 26, 2017, 09:51:56 PM »
Continuing . . .

We do not know how realistic Ken Russell's Dracula would have been, as it was never filmed, but, we do know he would have made the bold move of having another underage character in the nude, with the inclusion of a 14-year-old gardener's boy as one of the characters. Would it have been as bold as the nude pageboy in Salome's Last Dance, which was played by an adult actor, or the bolder nude boy scout in Lair of the White Worm, which was played by an underage actor? Though it probably would not have reached the boldest level of the nude pageboy in The Devils, which was so controversial that the film containing the scene was apparently later destroyed. And this was when only 3% or 4% of mainstream films contain scenes of a nude underage character, either a boy or a girl or both.

Here are some more bold moments in Ken's films.

If not the 1st scene of full frontal male nudity in a mainstream film, then one of the 1st scenes.
Women in Love (1970)

Connecting composer Richard Strauss with Nazism. So controversial, that while the Strauss estate could not prevent the showing of the film, it could prevent the use of Strauss' music. Thus, after its 1st showing on TV, the film has seldom been shown in its entirety since.
Dance of the 7 Veils (1970)

If not the 1st depiction of oral sex  in a mainstream film, then one of the 1st depictions of oral sex in a mainstream film.
The Music Lovers (1970)

A nude pageboy
The Devils (1971)

Another nude pageboy
Salome's Last Dance (1988)

A nude boy scout
The Lair of the White Worm (1988)


Next time: we'll think of something

Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Re: Ken Russell's Dracula
« Last post by BoyScoutKevin on February 15, 2017, 08:43:41 PM »
Continuing . . .

We don't know how realistic the film would have been. Though, with vampires and werewolves in it, it would not have been entirely realistic. Still, one of the strengths of Ken's film is the realistic matter in which he treats the subject.

I have been in enough amateur stage productions to know that the backstage scenes are fairly realistic. Though, what happens backstage and on stage is somewhat jarring.
The Boyfriend (1971)

At least the title is realistic. The mania that accompanied Liszt, when he was alive, actually was called Lisztomania.
Lisztomania (1975)

The opening scenes in the film actually happened--apparently--in real life.
Valentino (1977)

The sensory deprivation experiments actually happened. Indeed, it is said that some of the actors in the film actually tried them out.
Altered States (1980)

Most erotica is not realistic. It is fanciful, as it plays to people's fancies. Though, some of it is more realistic than other. For example: the scenes between Sylvia (Amanda Donohoe) and Kevin (Chris Pitt.) And while it is not totally realistic (her fangs.) It is more realistic than most erotica, which not only makes it realistic. It makes (IMHO) more erotic than most erotica.
Lair of the White Worm (1988)

I can't say how realistic this film is in regard to its subject matter, but it is certainly more realistic than "Pretty Woman," as it was made in response to that film. Of course, audiences seeming to prefer the fanciful "Pretty Woman" to this more realistic film.
Whore (1991)

To be continued . . .

Next time: another one of Ken's strengths
Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Re: Lair of the White Worm on BluRay
« Last post by BoyScoutKevin on February 08, 2017, 07:43:25 PM »
I do not have the film on Blu-Ray. Though, I do have it on dvd, when it was released in that format. And hopefully, the Blu-Ray version includes the same film commentary by Russell that is on the dvd. For I have found that Russell is always worth listening to, when he talks about his own films. No less when he talks about this one.

There are apparently a number of extras on the Blu-Ray that I do not remember being on the dvd version. One of them a commentary by Sammi Davis, who played Mary Trent in the film, and who talks about Russell and her role in the film. And while I have seen her commentary, either in its full length, or an excerpt from it. There again I found it to be quite interesting and worth watching.
Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Re: Ken Russell's Dracula
« Last post by BoyScoutKevin on February 08, 2017, 07:34:19 PM »
Continuing . . .

Miscellaneous remarks

Even if I had the full script before me, which I did not, only excerpts, what I would have seen is not what I would have seen in the film, if it had ever been made. Because . . .

1st. Visuals
The strength of Ken's films, and most likely this one, would not have been what is said, but what is seen.

2nd. Opportunity
Ken was an opportunistic director. If he saw a possible scene, which was not in the script, then he'd shoot that scene, and include it in the film.

And while the film was never made, it did inspire a ballet by Christopher Gable. A ballet which I may have seen, as I know my local ballet company, a number of years ago, did a ballet version of Dracula. Though, I cannot remember whether it was the one by Gable or not.

And the film would have been regarded as being partially autobiographical, with Russell re-imaging himself as the title character.

To be continued . . .

Next time: realism and then boldness
Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Re: Jim Ede and his 'marketing' of HGB work
« Last post by Grahame "Buzz" Ware on February 07, 2017, 07:03:44 AM »
I have to agree Iain. Despite my research and poring over many sources, Ede seems to be sincere in his motives and intentions. When he did make castings in the late 60's of Gaudier-Bzreska's sculpture(s), he did so to finance the purchase and restoration of what has become Kettles Yard at Cambridge.
Having said that, he did make a move away from London to Morocco and did a little dealing in art. However, he was a scholar and art historian but he was firmly a lover of contemporary art which wasn't a really big deal then. Ede lectured and raised awareness of modern British artists with sculptors holding a special place for him above painters. When one looks at the beginnings of Vorticism, one sees that it really was a case of the Futurist followers of Marinetti being pissed off at Nevinson and Marinettii for including their names on a Futurist manifesto without their permission. Their anger manifested in Wyndham Lewis in particular coming out with all guns ablazing at Marinetti. Thus, the Vorticists were "born" and Gaudier-Bzreska a part of that.
As Buchkowska and Wright say in their excellent essay, The Futurist Invasion of Great Britain, 1910–1914 (International Yearbook of Futurism Studies 2012),
"By their bold pronouncement repudiating the foreign influences of Futurism, the Vorticists declared that only they, as Anglo-Saxons, could advance the arts of Britain against the reactionary forces of domestic complacency and compete with the art movements abroad. Portraying themselves as British patriots, the Vorticists intended to revitalize an Empire in decline by aggressively reasserting its cultural leadership. In the last months before the war, the Vorticists aligned their objectives with those of the government and the press to diminish and eliminate the forces of degeneration.
As the acrimonious split played itself out, the public became disinclined to accept either movement. Despite serious aesthetic differences between the two, it seemed that the public had experienced enough. Two months later, the Great War began, thus bringing Vorticism – Britain’s only Futurist inspired avant-garde movement – to a gradual and painful halt."

That argumentative eruption may have faded but it never really died. There was no going back after the pent-up and thwarted artistic energy that these manifestoes had unleashed. We see this clearly in the scenes in Savage Messiah especially those that replicate the energy and ambience of The Cave of The Golden Calf, Frida Strindberg's ill-fated avant-garde nightclub.
Robert Upstone in May 2009 had a good piece on the club in the Tate gallery website. See here:
Upstone drew freely upon the work of Richard Cork and his book, Art Outside The Gallery (1982).

I can't imagine that Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth could have had the intellectual arc that they did without the manifestoes of the Futurists and Vorticists still fresh and ringing in the ears of their teachers and future fellow artists.

Derek Jarman's sets were really good as was the script masterfully produced by Logue.

Savage Messiah is still the best sculpture-centric feature film ever made.

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