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Ken Russell People 2

 

Behind the camera

Just as Ken has a loyal band of actors, so he also uses the same technicians and behind the scenes people again and again.  Some, such as Derek Jarman, achieve fame in their own right.

Derek Jarman Derek Jarman

Derek Jarman provided the sets for The Devils (the giant brick walls) and Savage Messiah, and went on to establish himself as a film director in his own right. He is heavily influenced by Russell though he is even more experimental and even less commercial. His last film Blue has a blank (blue) screen and consists of people with AIDS talking. Jarman died shortly afterwards of AIDS.

 

Huw Wheldon Huw Wheldon

The man behind the BBC´s Monitor series with films by John Schlesinger, then Ken Russell. Huw Wheldon appears introduces many of the tv films.  Ken's autobiography s dedicated to Huw.

 

Melvyn Bragg Melvyn Bragg

He wrote screenplays for Ken and later as an arts presenter on The South bank Show with much power at London Weekend Television commissioned Ken Russell to do a number of documentaries. He appears in "A British Picture". He wrote the script for The Music Lovers as well as both parts of Clouds of Glory, and the Monitor programmes Isadora, Debussy, Roussou. His work on TV also includes the interview with the dying Dennis Potter, where Potter has to stop regularly to take morphine to stop the pain of cancer. Other work by Bragg includes a very good documentary about Peter Maxwell Davies (see below). Bragg is an established novelist.

 

Billy Williams Billy Williams

Cinematographer on Billion Dollar Brain, Women in Love and The Rainbow. Other work includes Cry Freedom and The Exorcist. His Oscar nomination for Women in Love was well deserved, especially the wrestling scene. Like Russell he initially had problems being accepted on films rather than documentaries.

 

Dick Bush Dick Bush

An Omnibus cinematographer working on Isadora and Song of Summer, and later on Savage Messiah, Mahler, Tommy, Clouds of Glory, Crimes of Passion, Lair and A British Picture. He died recently.

 

Ken Higgins

A television cinematographer with Russell and Schlesinger on the BBC Monitor series. He also did the filming of French Dressing.

 

Peter Suschitzky

Peter Suschitzky

Cinematographer of Lisztomania and Valentino with Russell as well as Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and M Butterfly for Cronenberg. He turned down Star Wars but later did The Empire Strikes Back.

 

Michael Bradsell

Michael Bradsell

Editor of a range of Ken Russell films from Women in Love through to Savage Messiah.

 

Stuart Baird Stuart Baird

He worked as assistant to Michael Bradsell and when Bradsell was unavailable for Tommy became full editor. Ken says "Mike Bradsell is doing Stardust which will clash with Tommy so now I am using his protégé Stuart Baird. He´s been Mike´s assistant for years and I have known him since he was a runner on Women in Love". Stuart also edited Lisztomania and Valentino. His other work includes The Omen and Die Hard and he has recently taken up direction. You can see him on the commentary on the DVD of The Omen, where he says that his work with Ken Russell was responsible for him getting the job.

 

Paul Dufficey Paul Dufficey

Set, costume and production designer who has worked regularly with Ken Russell in various roles from Savage Messiah onwards.  He also works with Ken on operas such as the sublime Il Mefistofele.

 

James Merifield

Production designer who worked with Ken on two operas Princess Ida and Salome, and the television films The Mystery of Doctor Martinu, Alice in Russialand, Lady Chatterley and Treasure Island.

'The director Ken Russell was in the audience of my first West End play 20 years ago. And I got a call the next day from his producer, saying that he’d like to do an opera, Princess Aida, with me [Iain: it was Princess Ida]. I was delighted but it was panned by the critics.’  They collaborated on another opera [Iain: Salome] and then Russell asked him to work on a television project. ‘At first I said, “No, I don’t know anything about television.” [Iain: this was Lady Chatterley].  But he said, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” so I did it. He was my mentor – we still keep in touch and I’m godfather to his youngest son.’

Quote from interview by Duncan Farmer and image from photo by Dale Cherry from here .

 

John McGrath John McGrath

An early writer with Ken on Diary of a Nobody and Billion Dollar Brain. He later worked in theatre, forming the influential 7:84 Scotland Theatre Company- the title comes from the statistic that 7% of the population own 84% of the wealth.   He died in 2002 aged 67.

 

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