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Topic Summary

Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: December 16, 2008, 11:19:18 PM »

I had forgotten Carradine was in Nashville, one of my favourite films.

I first saw it and loved it, then had to wait 10 years before I could see it again- as good as I remembered, but the opening credits were changed, more professional but less good.  Now it is on DVD, superb.

To continue the six degrees of separation, as well as Carradine, Ken and Robert Altman contributed to Aria, and Glenda Jackson worked for Ken (lots of times) and for Altman in Beyond Therapy, plus Donald Sutherland in Billion Dollar Brain and M*A*S*H.

Posted by: John Gargo
« on: December 16, 2008, 01:02:33 PM »

Imagine my surprise (and feeling of deja-vu) when I opened the New York Post this Sunday and I saw more Mindgame related business in the "In My Library" column, this time with Keith Carradine.  They must have done this interview at the same time as the Ken one.  Cool picks with Kazantzakis and Vonnegut.  Russell is of course mentioned...

In My Library: Keith Carradine

Never mind what he sang in "Nashville": Figuring out Keith Carradine's literary tastes is anything but "easy."

"I have very catholic tastes - they go all over the place," he tells The Post's Barbara Hoffman. "I have in my possession right now a copy of 'Psychodrama, Surplus Reality and the Art of Healing,' because I'm doing this play I like to call a 'psychodrama about psychodrama.' Since [director] Ken Russell got involved, I now refer to it as a 'psycho-comedy.' "

That play is "Mindgame," and Carradine is so busy that he had to wait for "Pal Joey" to play a Wednesday matinee so he could see his daughter, Martha Plimpton, in it.

In between all that, finally, he finds time to read - here's what's on his bookshelf:

Einstein: His Life and the Universe by Walter Isaacson

You can't really write about Einstein without writing about the theory of relativity, and Isaacson's done it in a way that's comprehensible to the non-nuclear physicist. And he's quite thorough in his depiction of the man. Here you have one of the great minds of the 20th century, and the personal life and traits to go along with it.

The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch

It's a wonderful distillation of our individual and national character. Whether we're conscious of it or not, we've all adopted personas, partly of our own design . . . As I was reading it, I hoped it would help me do a little self-analysis and represent a more honest character to the world. It certainly was enlightening!

The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis

My brother David's then-girlfriend, Barbara Hershey, gave Marty Scorsese the book and Marty decided right then to make a film of it. The movie had its detractors, but I quite liked it. [The book] had a profound effect on me.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

I'm a huge Vonnegut fan - I get it! I get his sense of humor, his skewed way of looking at things. There was a phrase, "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God," that went into me like a bullet, and I've lived by it ever since. Shortly after, an old friend said, "Hey, Keith, wanna go to China?" And I took my now ex-wife and Martha and her mother along and had a remarkable experience.
Posted by: BoyScoutKevin
« on: October 27, 2008, 05:48:02 PM »

I'd like to see Russell's film version of "Alice in Wonderland," but I guess we'll have to make do with Tim Burton's version, with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.
Posted by: John Gargo
« on: October 14, 2008, 11:38:04 PM »

It was indeed a shock to flip the page of the newspaper and then see Ken Russell staring me in the face!  Glad you enjoyed the article.  I will say that this is one of the better columns that I can remember... usually they will pick a current "fashionable" celebrity, and their choices are often mundane Bestseller trash, although occasionally you'll be surprised and see a recommendation for something like James Joyce's Ulysses, but again that is rare.  Glad to see Russell be that exception with his good reading list.
Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: October 14, 2008, 03:50:36 PM »

An interesting article.  I like the Louse of Russia error- a nice mishearing.  And a small error, the statue of Queen Boudica isn't outside the gates of Parliament, it is close to parliament, on Westminster Bridge.

Baron in the Trees is an unexpected choice, it is also by coincidence one of the books I am reading at the moment.  It is as good as Ken indicates, though I think Invisible Cities is Calvino's best novel.

In an interview with Melvyn Bragg (I forget where I read or saw it) I remember Ken saying when he did Women in Love he had hardly read any novels at all.  Amazing that he did such a good adaptation, and he has become very literate, including publishing nine (I think) books- three non fiction and six novels.

Posted by: John Gargo
« on: October 12, 2008, 08:36:51 PM »

The Sunday edition of the New York Post always has a column entitled "In My Library," where they ask a celebrity (usually an author, actor or musician) what books they are currently reading.  Ken Russell was featured in today's paper.

In My Library: Ken Russell

If you went to the movies in the late '60s and '70s, you know Ken Russell's work.  There was no escaping it: "Women in Love," "The Rainbow," "The Devils," "The Music Lovers"... there was even an over-the-top take on The Who's "Tommy," with Tina Turner, in the grip of what looked like epilepsy, as the Acid Queen. 

Today you'll find the 81-year-old Brit off-Broadway directing Keith Caradine in "Mindgame," which opens next month.  It's a thriller.  Russell's long had a taste for the macabre.  "When I'm not reading scripts, I'm reading the Bible - it's full of good stories - and history," he tells The Post's Barbara Hoffman.

"I've just finished an historical script with my wife (Lisa Tribble) about Queen Boudica.  The Romans raped her daughters, and she gave them a bloody nose.  There's a statue of her outside the gates of Parliament.

"She was played by my wife in the film, 'Boudica Bites Back,' which will be on a Web site near you soon.  She was a hell of a woman, and so is my wife!"  We don't doubt it.  Here's what's in his library.

Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
It's my favorite Lawrence book, really - it encapsulates the best of him, as far as I'm concerned.  What I like is the relationship between the two men.  It's not exactly homosexual, but sparks fly between them.  They're rivals, and they need each other.

Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
It's about a 12-year-old boy who decides to leave home after they make him eat boiled snails for dinner.  He climbs a tree in his garden and that's where he remained for the rest of his life.  A very full life.  It's sort of my story.  I used to go to my horse-chestnut tree to act out movies.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
It's very much part of my psyche.  I like surrealism... I can remember my mum reading it to me.  It had vivid illustrations - once seen, those images are never forgotten.  I can still see the one of Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allen Poe
I made a film called "The Fall of the Louse of Russia," [sic] because the hero was a real louse... There's one story set in a madhouse, so it's an inspiration for this very bizarre tale ["Mindgame"], which is as horrific as anything Poe wrote.