Recent Posts

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Steven Berkoff discussion / Jigsaw Puzzle
« Last post by Iain Fisher on January 13, 2022, 06:53:32 PM »
A jigsaw puzzle from Konga with Berkoff !!!

It is from the Media Storehouse, but only for Australian customers
https://www.mediastorehouse.com.au/studiocanal/konga-1961/young-steven-berkoff-scene-konga-14765748.html?prodid=80906





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Steven Berkoff discussion / A Steven Berkoff Quiz
« Last post by Iain Fisher on January 11, 2022, 11:57:11 PM »
An enjoyable quiz, I got 10/10 (!!!) but  one question (Russian generals) I guessed, as I only knew one off my head.

https://www.funtrivia.com/trivia-quiz/Celebrities/Steven-Berkoff-288701.html
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One of the films not nominated for an Oscar was Ken's The Devils:

"What kind of Academy would have nominated The Devils for best picture? A bold Academy. A brave Academy. An Academy willing and able to grapple with the putrid rot of history, imperfect idealism, and sanctimonious authority. Make no mistake, The Devils’ reputation precedes it, haunting charges of obscenity perhaps best summed up by critic Judith Crist’s condemnation of the film as a “grand fiesta for sadists and perverts.” The Devils is a harsh film with harsh subject matter. Historically, the Oscars tend to avoid anything with especially pointy edges, no matter how well-realized, performed, or acute in their criticisms. It’s true that the Academy has nominated, and even awarded, an X-rated film in the past. But the similarities between 1969’s Midnight Cowboy and Ken Russell’s political parable stop and start at their MPAA designation. The Devils is one of the most searing and upsetting visions of political corruption that’s ever been committed to celluloid. It is a genuinely dangerous piece of art. And I’m not sure the Academy really does danger"

The summary is by Meg Shields.

Other films on the list include:
  • Martin Scorsese Silence (2016) - Scorsese was neglected by the Oscars for a long time
  • James Whale Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • Michael Powell Peeping Tom (1960)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson Magnolia (1999)
  • Carol Reed The Third Man (1949), written as a filmscript (and later novelised) by Graham Greene
  • David Lean Brief Encounter (1945), based on a short play by Noel Coward
  • Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo (1958), not my favourite Hitchcock but worthy.  Of his 50+ films none won the Best Picture Oscar
  • Ridley Scott Blade Runner (1982) and Alien (1979)
  • Stanley Kubrick The Shining (1980) - horror films and sci-fi have little chance at the Oscars

I've missed out foreign language films as they would not even have been seriously considered for best film.

Dubious ones listed for Best film
  • The Fly (1986 - the original from 1958 is much better
  • Die Hard (1988) – a good fun film but not Oscar level
  • Planet of the Apes (1968) - as for Die Hard

The article is on the FSR website
https://filmschoolrejects.com/movies-not-nominated-best-picture/
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Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Flipping the script on Britishness
« Last post by Iain Fisher on January 04, 2022, 10:23:50 PM »
Photos from an overlooked photo archive "images of Windrush arrivals and jazz club romances challenge the traditional narrative about what it means to be British".

Interesting photos including "London by Ken Russell, 1954... street scenes of the 1950s.

More details are here
http://www.iainfisher.com/russell/ken-russell-news.html




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Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / most hated book
« Last post by Iain Fisher on December 29, 2021, 03:39:31 AM »
Famous Brits pick their most-hated books, by Mark Frauenfelder, 27 Dec 2021

Ken's choice is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

"It has a huge reputation as a masterpiece, but I found it to be a fascist tirade about how wonderful American tycoons are in business. Still, it is very cleverly written."

The article is here
https://boingboing.net/2021/12/27/famous-brits-pick-their-most-hated-books.html

Sam Jordison in The Guardian 27 Mar 2019 says "Ayn Rand's libertarian rant is unpleasant, daft and deeply flawed. I hated it - but I couldn't put it down"
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Savage Messiah: Ken Russell / Re: A Kitten for Hitler / On Ken Russell
« Last post by Iain Fisher on December 25, 2021, 10:59:05 PM »
"A Kitten for Hitler: the most offensive Christmas film ever made" according to Tim Robey in The Times, 24 Dec 2021

The link is here
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/kitten-hitler-offensive-christmas-film-ever-made/
(behind a paywall)
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Sarah Kane discussion / Phaedra Eros in Greece
« Last post by Iain Fisher on December 25, 2021, 01:05:34 AM »
Phaedra's Love (Phaedra Eros) is on at the Spendoni Theatre in Athens on 29-30 Dec 2021.

"A bold and provocative revision of the myth through Phaedra's persistent and destructive passion for her adopted son Hippolytus. The work reveals the violent nature of love through the dysfunction of a sexually corrupt royal family in a society whose religion is the worship of celebrities".

More details are here
http://www.iainfisher.com/kane/eng/sarah-kane-news.html

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Sarah Kane discussion / Cleansed in Antwerp, Belgium
« Last post by Iain Fisher on December 17, 2021, 09:37:36 PM »
A student production of Cleansed at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Antwerpen.

"Dahlia Pessemiers Benamar en Oscar Van Rompay werken samen met de studenten Acteren bachelor 2 en 3 aan twee aparte voorstellingen. De voorstellingen worden elk vier keer gespeeld".

It is on from 20-23 Dec 2021.
More details are here
http://www.iainfisher.com/kane/eng/sarah-kane-news.html
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The Many Lives of Kathleen Turner by Keaton Bell, in Vogue 13 Dec 2021

Kathleen Turner on Ken, Anthony Perkins and Crimes of Passion

"Ken Russell was one of a kind. He wanted to bring the lives of all the great composers to the screen, like the one about Tchaikovsky with Richard Chamberlain [1971’s The Music Lovers]. That’s what he saw as his essential work. But in between those, Ken had to make Hollywood films because he didn’t wanna lose his place in the zeitgeist. He wanted to have one foot in Hollywood’s door, which meant he shot himself in that foot a lot on something like Crimes of Passion.

I understand it was a pretty chaotic set.

Anthony Perkins was a nightmare. It was such a shame to watch—he would huff benzyl nitrate before every take.

Like poppers?

No, those are amyl nitrate. These were one down, but the effect is very much the same. Anthony would break into sweats, turn bright red, and start mumbling very fast and incoherently. Anything we’d rehearsed before the scene would completely go out the window. And Ken was hardly one to criticize him because he was always drunk.

How does a budding actor navigate a set like that?

With difficulty. But Ken was a genius, and I wanted to work with him".

The article is on the Vogue website here
https://www.vogue.com/article/kathleen-turner-finding-my-voice-interview

The page on Crimes of Passion is here
http://www.iainfisher.com/russell/ken-russell-film-crimes-of-passion.html

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An article on nunsploitation film, with the top 18.  Actually at times it is quite insightful.

"This fascination, typically referred to in film form as nunsploitation, pops up in the work of polarizing auteurs (Ken Russell and, with Benedetta, now Paul Verhoeven), pornographers (JesĂşs Franco), and, naturally, auteur pornographers (Walerian Borowczyk)."

The article then gives the top 18 films.  Of the ones I know:

15 To The Devil a Daughter (1976).  A Hammer film with Christopher Lee so of course of interest

8 Häxan (1922).  A silent film part documentary part re-enacted history

4 Black Narcissus (1947).  A Powell-Pressburger film, quite classic

2 Mother Joan of the Angels (1960)
Directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz with a similar story as Ken’s The Devils.  Interesting film.

1 The Devils by Ken Russell (1971)
“like Black Narcissus before it, The Devils is a feverish and damning indictment of the Church’s marriage of mutual convenience to the state and the political expediency of blasphemy”

“Russell knows who his villains are and he’s careful here, balancing Sister Jeanne’s viciousness and depravity with her repressed sexuality and horrifying victimhood. She exercises the lone malignant power accessible to her — to accuse a man of devil worship and possession — and instigates events that not only further subjugate her but destroy Loudon itself. For a tragic figure, she’s no object of pity”

The article is by Elle Carroll, 6 Dec 2021 on the Vulture website click here
https://www.vulture.com/2021/12/the-best-nunsploitation-films-ranked.html

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