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Ken Russell Hot News


Tommy in the cinema.  A new documentary on Ken.  An exhibition of Ken's photos.
Last update 22 Oct 2019.


Ken Russell: Portrait of a Maverick

Portrair of a Maverick 

Ken Russell Portrait of a Maverick is a documentary by Chris Wade. The film gives an overview of Kenís childhood and career, and has interviews with Xavier Russell (Kenís son who edited some of Kenís films), Judith Paris, Emma Millions and (voice only) Scott Antony.

Xavier gives some good insight into Kenís working such as how he edits. He also mentions the friendship between Ken and Coppola, and Scorsese (who would send Ken copies of his latest films), as well as Felliniís admiration of Ken. He also mentions Kenís mixed feelings about Kubrick.

Judith Paris brings out how devoted she is to the work of Ken and mentions his insistence on lots of takes. As well as in films, she worked with Ken in the theatre.

Emma Millions covers the last films of Ken. She gives examples of Kenís inventiveness such as when they had to find a way of portraying a castle collapsing (The Fall of the Louse of Usher) and he came up with the idea of using a bouncy castle. She also touchingly tells how she burst into tears when she overheard someone say Ken had just died.

The film is just over 55 minutes. You can buy the DVD or the download here


The site has a short online trailer you can watch.



Girls Will Be Boys/Boys Will Be Girls

Ken Russell photo

Girls Will Be Boys/Boys Will Be Girls is an exhibition of Ken's photography (along with photos of Alan Vines).  It is at the Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonards on Sea, UK from 21 Sep - 9 Nov 2019.

"Before finding fame as a film director with Women in Love, Tommy and The Devils,Russell worked as a freelance photographer. His series "The Last of The Teddy Girls" explores the Teddy Girl subculture of London in the 1950s,and captures the suits and slick backs that epitomise this genre. Few people know that Ken Russell originally wanted to be a serious fashion photographer and tried to start by photographing Mattli, the Swiss-born and London-based fashion designer known for his couture designs and, later, his ready-to-wear clothing and couture patterns. But as Ken himself admitted, he was hopeless and couldnít connect with his subjects. His genius was to connect brilliantly with the Teddy Girls and boys and later with his actors, all of whom would do anything for him. In the 50s, he had captioned a series of photographs he took of antique clothing stores series beginning with ďForget your Dior fashionsĒ!Ē But actually, he loved all the couture stuff."

Click on the image for more details.

Tommy in the cinema in the UK


The British Film Institute are showing Tommy from 22-30 Nov 2019.  The film will also be shown in some cinemas throughout the country.

"Ken Russell interprets The Whoís concept album as a mix of high-energy kitsch and darker psychological nightmare."

But "We have imported a print from France for these screenings as there is no longer a good print available in this country. The print will have French subtitles which we hope will not impair your enjoyment." Sad there is no good print available in the UK.

Click on the image for more details.


 Recent changes to the site:

  • the Hot News and feedback pages are updated every month



 Too late- you missed it:

Ken Russell season in Armenia

AFG Film Club 

AFG present various Ken Russell films as part of the Great Composers and Great Passions season in Yerevan, Armenia.  The films are:

  • Elgar and Always on Sunday in Yerevan on 2 Sept 2017.
  • The Debussy Film on 9 Sept 2017
  • Isadora Duncan on 16 Sept 2017
  • Dante's Inferno on 23 Sept 2017
  • Song of Summer on 30 Sept 2017

 Click on the image for more details.


A Tribute to Ken Russell in London, UK

Ken Russell and Robert Powell

The Cinema Museum in London present a festival of Ken Russell films from 23-27 Aug 2017.

 The fillms and guests are:

  • The Debussy Film with a talk by Melvyn Bragg
  • The Devils introduced by Mark Kermode
  • Mahler with guests Robert Powell and Georgina Hale
  • Music Lovers with a talk by Glenda Jackson
  • Savage Messiah with guests Lisi Russell, Judith Paris and Michael Bradsell

Click on the image for more details.


Ken Russell on Screen by  Chris Wade

Ken Russell on Screen 

A new book on Ken Russell by Chris Wade.

"Ken Russell: On Screen celebrates the film and television career of one of the world's most innovative, controversial, and outrageous directors of all time. Ken Russell was a one off, a notorious enfant terrible, and the definition of a true maverick. He was also a genius. In a series of articles, Chris Wade goes through Ken's long and varied career, focusing on such seminal works as The Devils, Tommy and Lair of the White Worm, as well as assessing his seminal BBC films of the 1960s. Also explored in depth is Ken's final era, The Gorsewood Years, his time as a truly independent filmmaker.The book features new recollections from Russell collaborators like Murray Melvin, who looks back on The Devils, his son Xavier Russell, Rick Wakeman and many more, plus pictures provided by Ken's wife Lisi."

Click on the image for more details.

Paul Sutton's monumental biography of Ken and his films

Talking about Ken Russell 

Two editions, colour and black and white.   Highly recommended.


Ken Russell: Perspectives, Reception and Legacy conference in London, UK

Ken Russell 

Kingston University in London present a conference on Ken Russell from 14-16 Jul 2017.

 The presentations are:

  • The Hermeneutics of Noise: The Sound of Salvation in Russell's Tommy by Dr Kate Laity
  • Ken Russell's Elgar: A 21st Century Soundtrack by John Warburton
  • Retrovision: The Boyfriend as a case study by NJ Stevenson
  •  A Distasteful Tonality: Ken Russell vs. the Studios and the Censors by Prof Linda Ruth Williams
  • A Critical Examination of Nudity in the films of Ken Russell by Claire-Louise Jackson
  • Sex Against the State: Sexuality as an Iconoclastic Act in the Films and Novels of Ken Russell by Kevin Fullerton
  • Lust for L:ife by Carol Langhorst
  • Tommy introduced by Lisi Russell
  • Ken Russell, Powell and Pressburger and the British Composed Film by Dr Brian Hoyle
  • Ken Russell and Television Advertising by Richard Farmer
  • The Extraordinary Parallel- Ken Russell and Dennis Potter Side by Side by Mateja Djeodevic
  • The Short History of Ken Russell Films in Japan by Sawako Omori
  • 3D Art in the Films of Ken Russell by Paul Sutton
  • A Fictional Memory of Rudolph Valentino by Jade Evans
  • Ken Russell's Quartet of Painter Biopics by Dr Paul Davies
  • Savage Messiahs? Ken Russell and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska by Dr Jonathan Black
  • A screening of Diary of a Nobody and Q&A with Murray Melvin
  • The Legacy of Ken Russell in Contemporary Cinema by Adam Powell
  • Trauma, Transfiguration and the Ecstatic Legacy of Ken Russell by Dr Matt Melia
  • The Influence of Ken Russell on his Contemporaries at the BBC by Roger Crittenden
  • Ken Russell: The Boy Behind the Man by Lisi Russell

Click on the image for more details.


Reality is a Dirty World: Ken Russell's photos in London, UK

Ken Russell photos 

The photos of Ken Russell before he made films, some stunningly beautiful photos.  It is at the Proud gallery in London.  Click on the image for details.  Highly recommended.


Gothic at Carmine Boutique, Orlando USA

Ken Russell Gothic- click for link 

The thirtieth anniversary of Gothic, so Carmine Boutique are showing Gothic for five showings from 13 Feb 2016.  Click on the image for details.


Song of Summer complete

Laurel and Hardy in Song of Summer

Song of Summer began with a 30 second sequence featuring Laurel and Hardy.  This has long been unavailable for copyright reasons, but you cans see it here.  It shows Ken's ability to keep television audiences by opening with the unexpected.  It also shows the inclusive appreciation of music by Fenby, compared with Delius' exclusivity ("What is English music- I don't know any").


French Dressing on DVD

French Dresing

French Dressing has been issued on DVD, Region 2.



No Wills- homage song

White Hills

White Hills, a rock duo, have written a song which member Ego Sensation says:

"No Will is an ode to Ken Russell's film Gothic which tells the tale of the night that Mary Shelley birthed the idea for her book "Frankenstein". The title references the dilemma that the story of Frankenstein ponders. The doctor believes he can rival the power of god by bringing a creature to life, however his world falls into ruin with that act. His will was ultimately illusory"

The track is from their new album Walks For Motorists.  You can hear the song here, with the article by Russell Thomas, 16 Mar 2015.


Billion Dollar Brain on Blu-ray

Billion Dollar Brain

Billion Dollar Brain is coming on Blu-ray.


Major biography of Ken

click for the shop

The first volume of Paul Sutton's authorised biography of Ken Russell is now available.  More details soon.  Click on the image to buy.


Ken Russell books

Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of the Devils by Richard Crouse was published in October 2012

Ken Russell's Dracula.  Ken's script of the film.

More details on these soon.


Mindbender on DVD


Mindbender is available on DVD- not the next film I was hoping for, but...  The best film on bending spoons.  You can  buy it here.


The Big Lebowski

Not real but an article on "What if those modern blockbusters were made in the 1950s? Artist imagines their posters and who would star in them".  Ken directing Zappa, Bowie and Iggy Pop alongside Kinski, Warhol and Clint Eastwood.  If only... The article is here.


A House in Bayswater

Ken's short (30 minute) BBC film from 1960 is now available online.  Click here.


Ken Russell: Re-Viewing England's Last Mannerist

A new book on Ken Russell, Ken Russell: Re-Viewing England's Last Mannerist is published by Scarecrow Press, USA. The book is edited by Kevin M. Flanagan.

The book "on the one hand, explores areas of Russell's career that have been somewhat overlooked or marginalized, and on the other expands the applicability of Russell's films to academic film study. Roughly half of the essays in the book are "academic" while the other half, though still scholarly, could be seen as more popular and historical. Topics covered include an elucidation of all of Russell's Monitor films, a new framework for reading Russell's whole career (as a champion of the amateur aesthetic), an essay on Russell's approach to 1980s horror, a reconsideration of Salome's Last Dance, and many, many more. Contributing writers include Barry Keith Grant, John C. Tibbetts, Joseph A. Gomez, Paul Sutton and John Kenneth Muir.  Thanks to Kevin for the information.

You can buy it here.


Mahler in Carolina, USA

Carolina Cinemas, Ashville, NC are showing Mahler on 22 Apr 2015.  Lisi Russell and Ken Urban will introduce.  Thanks to Lisi for the information.


The Devils in Harvard, USA

Ken Russell The Devils

Harvard Archive are showing The Devils on 30 Mar 2015.  The details are here.


The Dance of the Seven Veils in Ashville, USA

Ken Russell Dance of the Seven Veils

The Dance of the Seven Veils will be shown at the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building on 3 Apr 2015.  The details are here.


Altered States in London

Altered States - click for link

The National Film Theatre in London are showing Altered States on 7 and 9 Nov 2014. It is part of their Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder series. Click on the image for more details.



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