|A film on Liszt with music by Rick Wakeman.
Says it all. Not Russell's idea.
A Golem/Frankenstein creature (Wagner, killed by Liszt and
resurrected by his daughter Cosima) with an electric guitar that is
actually a machine gun walks through a ghetto slaughtering Jews,
accompanied by children wearing superman-like clothes. Cosima sees a
face through a swastika-shaped window and pulls out a voodoo doll and
pierces it with a pin to kill the person. Yes, clearly the story of the
||A cheap looking cash-in on Tommy, though Russell
says it cost over a million pounds- one of his highest budgets.
Roger Daltry´s acting is especially poor even for him.
It is basically a sex comedy though it is not very funny. The
concert sequence with squealing girls dressed like Jane Austen is too
long and the film collapses into banality.
Typical of Russell, there is a basis in truth. The worst
element is the pretentious modern title Lisztomania- but this is
actually the title of a book published in Liszt's time.
Another view by site visitor Steve Mobia (thanks Steve) is:
"A constant stream of visual imagination,
LisztOmania is the most unconventional and unique
of Ken Russell's output.
Whereas the films of Mahler and Tchaikovsky had flashes of
brilliance (the 1812 overture scene in The Music
Lovers, the conversion scene in
Mahler for instance), with Liszt, Russell finds
the freedom for full unhinged expression. It must take the cake as the
most peculiar biography ever made about a classical composer. The real
world Liszt was a master show off, turned the keyboard toward the
audience and performed diminished seventh runs as if possessed by the
devil. Russell's film depicts Liszt as the first classical "pop star,"
complete with fanatical pubescent fans (with fans) and groupies. The
movie darts in and out of music and film references, historic fact and
allegory — all presented in a hyberbolic comic strip fashion. Yes it's
often tasteless and crude but that's all a part of the fun.
Though The Devils
is arguably Russell's greatest film in both structure and substance,
LizstOmania, though not a very well structured
movie is dazzling in its audacity. The picture is a must-see for any