Last update 4 Jan 2022.
Flipping the script on Britishness
Found in 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 from the future film-maker’s series Portobello Road – Everyday Life. Here, a young black boy plays in one of the bombed out ‘playgrounds’ much loved by kids at the time. He is wearing a kind of superhero eye mask on his forehead, from an earlier game".
From the Guardian 4 Jan 2022 click here.
Oliver Reed turned down for a blue plaque
Christopher Hastings writing in the Mail on Sunday newspaper reports that Oliver Reed has been turned down for a blue plaque because " his legacy in the field of acting was not sufficiently strong". Blue plaques are meant to celebrate notable figures and the places they lived and worked.
The article says “A committee at the charity – which has been accused of political correctness – rejected a bid to honour the hell-raising star of films including Oliver!, Women In Love and Gladiator, despite many considering him a towering figure in British cinema.”
Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam is quoted as saying “… this is crazy. Ollie was a monument to everything that was wonderful at that time in England. I think this decision proves our culture is being invaded by close-minded idealogues with no idea of either history or uniqueness.’
The article by Christopher Hastings in the Mail on Sunday, 5 Dec 2021 is on the Mail website here
People who were awarded a blue plaque this year include Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and Hilton Valentine, guitarist of The Animals.
The Music Lovers on The Criterion Channel
The Criterion Channel have a season of Glenda Jackson films, one of which is The Music Lovers. Not sure which regions it covers or dates- for non-members there is limited information. Other Glenda films included are The Maids and Sunday Bloody Sunday both of which are recommended.
The Criterion blurb on The Music Lovers has the usual shoddy clichés- "gloriously bonkers spectacle of madness".
Bernard Haitink, Russell's conductor of Mahler, dies
The music on Ken's Mahler was conducted by Bernard Haitink, shown above from the credits of Mahler. I saw Haitink conduct many times and he was one of the great conductors. He was with the Dutch Concertgebouworkest for 65 (!) years, his first concert in 1939 (from NRC.NL 22 Oct 2021). He was also conductor of the London Philharmonic from 1967- 1979 and the Royal Opera House London from 1987-2002. He died on 21 Oct 2021 aged 92. He will be missed and I will be playing all my Haitink CDs to remember him.
Gretchen Felker-Martin podcast on Ken Russell's The Devils
The Losers' Club: A Stephen King Podcast presents a 30 minute discussion with Gretchen Felker-Martin on The Devils "A story about human fragility and the beauty of human frailty". Good to hear people genuinely appreciating the film- like an idiosyncratic discussion between friends.
The link is on atcast click here.
The Devils and Hell on Earth on-line
You can watch The Devils as well as Mark Kermode's documentary Hell on Earth plus Q&A with Ken etc. The link is on the Internet Archive is here.
As well as the film the extras are:
Dick Bush, Cinematographer
An update on one of Ken's cinematographers.
"When I was asked to do a Ken Russell film I was only an acting cameraman. I’d never been taught lighting, I taught myself really by watching other films, and went ahead to work with this terrifying creature as Ken was in those days. He would get through sound crews and camera crews in seconds. And I realised Ken was being really helpful. We’d go off to locations or work in the studio and I would light the set and he would come up and quietly say “Dick, do you really need that lamp on there”, and I’d switch it off and realise the set looked better".
The link is here .
Site updates - Savage Messiah
A major update of Savage Messiah here .
Site updates - The Boyfriend
A major update of The Boyfriend here .
Ken Russell: Portrait of a Maverick
Ken Russell Portrait of a Maverick is a documentary by Chris Wade. The
film gives an overview of Ken’s childhood and career, and has interviews
with Xavier Russell (Ken’s son who edited some of Ken’s films), Judith
Paris, Emma Millions and (voice only) Scott Antony.
Recent changes to the site:
Click here for the news archive