Savage Messiah: Ken Russell > Savage Messiah: Ken Russell

Ken writing in The Times

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Iain Fisher:
Ken has started writing for the Tuesday issue of The Times rather than Thursday's issue. I have taken the opportunity to open a new thread.  But comments on this one are still welcome.

Iain Fisher:
Ken in The Times 29 May 2008

He covers newsreels, the short news features that cinemas used to show betweek the B and A film.  And film festivals in Newcastle.

"... one of the most famous news cinemas in the North – the Bijou NewsReel cinema, which opened in 1937 on Pilgrim Street in Newcastle – became a news item.... Designed by Dixon Scott, the great-uncle of the film directors Ridley and Tony Scott, it was a real dream palace, the last word in Art Deco chic.

...And those wonderful Ministry of Information shorts such as How to Use Your Gas Mask, How to Boil an Egg, How to Deal With an Incendiary Bomb and the five-minute thriller Miss Grant Goes to the Door, where two ladies foil a German parachutist who lands in the garden. "

The cinema has been restored and will now "be providing more than 40 film, digital and animation courses a year to 6,000 adults and schoolchildren. It will host two new international film festivals: Northern Lights and AV, the latter specifically for electronic arts and digital experimentation.

So, for all wannabe film-makers, and I include myself, it’s next stop Newcastle. And for those historians among us who miss their newsreels, we can tour the exhibits for free and even feel the familiar flap, click and whirr of starting an old projector. Or, better yet, see the famous newsreel The Hindenburg Disaster (1937), playing every morning at 10 until July 3 in this splendid pleasure palace"

Details of the cinema are here

Iain Fisher:
Ken writes "I am probably the only film-maker in England today. “And how can that be?” you ask incredulously. Well, you need look no farther than these pages. Everyone even remotely connected to the movie business is at the Cannes Film Festival, all enjoying a sun-drenched freebie."

This is from The Times, 22 May 2008.  Ken goes on to write about Billion Dollar Brain and Aria and finally The Fall of the Louse of Usher

"...the last time I strolled along the Croisette, the circumstances were completely different. A small distributor was handling the release of my low-budget production Fall of the Louse of Usher, a portmanteau of updated Tales of Mystery & Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe. No posh hotels such as the Majestic or Carlton, but a small bed-and-breakfast with bunk beds, full of Japanese tourists, in a suburb a long bus ride out of town. But at least the company also flew out my wife and daughter. No party on a yacht, just drinks with a bunch of freeloaders in a pokey office with a windswept balcony, where my wife was mistaken for Frances McDormand. The action was “hi”, “bye” and a silent “why?”. And drama, when the receptionist had her purse stolen by a partygoer in a daring grab-and-run.
Seven years on, you might wonder if there were profits. Yes, there were. And as soon as I’ve finished paying off the expenses for that week spent at the B&B and the entertainment on the balcony, I will be eligible for royalty payments. Don’t talk to me about Cannes!"


Iain Fisher:
In The Times today (well yesterday now, 15 May 2008) Ken writes about Revenge movies.

He praises Jodie Foster in The Brave One "a very satisfying finale... has you rooting for this cute little killer from start to finish".

Ken then calls his The Devils a revenge film (I can't see this) and talks of Warner Bros still refusing to release it on DVD.  Other films he picks up on include Seraphim Falls, and Hammer's Revenge of Frankenstein and Revenge of the Zombies.

He also says Revenge of the Elephant Man will be on DVD soon.


Iain Fisher:
Ken writing in The Times on 10 Apr 2008 (sorry, I am catching up here).

Mainly autobiographical this article mentions Ken as a child playing with a boy who later became famous as a British comedian, Benny Hill.

Ken writes of his five years at the International Ballet School "under the tutelage of Maestro Nicholas Sergeyev, late regisseur generale of the Imperial Maryinsky Ballet".  This lead to a job in Annie Get Your Gun which folded after three weeks.



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