Saturday, 6 August 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: From my misspent youth: The Music Lovers (1971)

 I remember this for a number of personal reasons. My older sister took me to see this at the pictures when I was eleven years old, and it was one of the first films I ever bought on video through overseas sell-thru. It is a biography of the Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky and was directed by Ken Russell the enfant terrible of the British film industry; he would be best described today as an English sixties version of Oliver Stone (if such a thing is possible). Russell made his career making both cinematic and television films of the great classical composers, the made for TV product only being shown on English television as far as I’m aware. As a director, Russell has a totally distinctive style which unfortunately can alienate him from an audience who may not get it. He enjoys creating outstanding visuals at the expense of plot that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, but his films are welcome for their originality and are often beautiful to look at for this very reason. Glenda Jackson, who plays Tchaikovsky’s wife has an extraordinary nude scene on a train that was considered daring for its time, and the film is good to look at but it got terrible reviews and didn’t do very well. There are a number of outstanding but little known English actors in important supporting parts. I suppose it’s not the greatest movie ever made but I have sentimental reasons for liking it and I would like to see it come out on DVD sometime in the near future.

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