Author Topic: My collection of Ken's films  (Read 11635 times)

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Offline BoyScoutKevin

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Re: My collection of Ken's films
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2008, 12:08:56 AM »
So many of those films I've never seen, such as "Savage Messiah," "Mahler," "Lizstomania, "Crimes of Passion," and "Lady Chaterley."

I do disagree a little about "Altered States," liking it a bit more than spasmo did.

But the greatest disagreements come over "Billion Dollar Brain" and "Lair of the White Worm."

I think I've said, if I knew that "Billion Dollar Brain" had been directed by Ken Russell, I might never have seen another one of his films again. So much did I dislike it. Maybe I should give it another chance. Then again, maybe not. I think one of the reasons I disliked it so, was because, except for Michael Caine's character, so many of the characters, to me, came across as unlikeable.

On the other hand, I did like "Lair of the White Worm" more than spasmo did. And I agree with regal26 that Amanda Donohoe's seduction of the boy scout was hilarious. Maybe something is lost in the translation. As because so many of those lines said by her are actually double entendres, which are misunderstood by the boy scout.

Anyway, welcome spasmo. It is always good to have another fan of Russell on board.

Offline regal26

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Re: My collection of Ken's films
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2008, 04:54:02 PM »
At some point, definitely try and include 'The Music Lovers,' and 'Salome's Last Dance' and Russell's sequence from 'Aria' in that list. Great films! If you want to try and get 'Salome,' there is a region 2 Italian edition floating about somewhere.

I agree with some of your comments:

Altered States is an uncomfortable tug of war between Russell's visual pyrotechnics and Paddy Chayefsky's overstuffed dialogue (just watch Chayefsky's own 'The Hospital' where the plot is propelled by longwinded exposition rather than action).

However, the sequence where the William Hurt character goes to Mexico (which I think was based on Antonin Artaud's experiences there in the 1930's) is an exceptional piece of filmmaking and probably should have been its own piece.

I didn't go see 'Lair of the White Worm,' expecting it to be scary. Bram Stoker was never one for subtle terrorization. It was pretty much what I thought it would be; a Hammer style spoof and a comfortable couple of hours. No more, no less. I thought Amanda Donohoe's seduction of the boy scout was hilarious. 

I actually don't think 'Lady Chatterley' is all that bad. I thought it was a reasonably faithful adaptation of the book. That being said, Russell does miss many visual opportunites which would have drawn out more of the subtexts of sexuality and class from Lawrence's novel. Russell's 'The Rainbow' is a more successful attempt. I don't think explicit sex scenes would add anything other than audience titilation (after all, Lawrence spent a better part of his career fighting off charges of pornography starting with The Rainbow). Just Jaeckin's 1981 adapation of Lady Chatterley is fairly explicit, but also incredibly boring. None of the various film versions have really captured the spiritual core of that novel.

Offline spasmo

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My collection of Ken's films
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2008, 02:11:31 PM »
Collecting Russell films is not an easy task in Hungary, but I try to get my hands on everything available.
This is the list of the works I'm familiar with, and I wrote comments for some. I encourage all of you to share your thougts with me. What do YOU think of these films and of MY private opinion of them?

Billion Dollar Brain - A masterpiece. Yes, I think it is. The Harry Palmer vehicles of the sixties are my favourite spy flicks, I truly admire them. The one by Ken is the most over-the-top of the three and maybe the funniest one, too.

Women In Love - A masterpiece.

The Devils - A masterpiece.

The Boy Friend - Very good.

Savage Messiah - A masterpiece.

Mahler - A masterpiece.

Tommy - A masterpiece.

Lisztomania - Very good. Just plain crazy... Wasn't the whole crew taking hallucinogenic drugs while shooting this?

Valentino - Very good.

Altered States - Mediocre, could have been much better. Ken should have shot a more philosophical sci-fi with a lot of daring dream sequences. A movie about Carlos Castaneda's experiences with the indian shaman Don Juan would have been a perfect choice.

Crimes Of Passion - Mediocre, could have been much better. Turner and Perkins are wonderful actors but the other performers don't have any personality. It's a "sometimes really boring, sometimes just trashy" b-movie. Russell missed a great opportunity to make a deep and revolutionary film about the nature of instincts.

The Lair Of The White Worm - Awful. I still can't believe that Russell directed it. Unfunny and unscary.

Lady Chatterley – Tame and bad. Ken should have shot his Chatterley film not very long after the success of Women In Love (in 1970 for example). It should have been based ONLY on the last version of Lawrence's novel, using vivid imagery and sex scenes bordering on the hardcore. Oliver Reed as Mellors, Alan Bates as Clifford and someone like Julie Christie or Anna Karina as Connie.