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Ken Russell omnibus classics



1965 Always on Sunday

Ken Russell Always on Sunday About the painter Rousseau.  For the lead Ken cast the painter James Lloyd, who Russell filmed in The Dotty World of James Lloyd in the role. An example of Russell getting a natural performance from a non-actor.

Having just used Oliver Reed as Debussy, Russell could not use his face too soon after, so Reed provides the commentary, hindered by his dyslexia. Annette Robertson, also in The Debussy Film, appears as well as Brian Pringle.

Ken Russell Always on Sunday


1966 Don't Shoot the Composer

A documentary on the French cinema composer Georges Delerue (Jules et Jim, Day for Night, The Last Metro). Russell has already used Delerue´s music (composition and conducting) in French Dressing. Later Delerue would provide the music for Women in Love.

Rather than tell how good a film composer George Delerue is, Russell lets us judge for ourselves. The documentary include a handful of stories (beginning with a detective story with Russell playing the French private eye, and later with Russell kidnapping Delerue). Delerue has composed music for each of the pieces. He then shows how the music develops the story-line.

Ken Russell in Dont Shoot the Composer    Georges Delerue in Dont Shoot the Composer
The detective Ken Russell (left) and Georges Delerue (right)

"It was a satire on a BBC film unit making a serious documentary on a famous French composer and we did it in three different styles... we did it as a silent movie, where the composer would have written appropriate music, for such a sort of speeded up slapstick approach. We also did more serious versions but that was the last one, and I think the funniest".  Some of the compositions he did especially for the film were composed overnight.  As well as demonstrating his composing talent, the film gives an idea of Delerue as a person, Delerue and wife going every night to the cinema, and the children acting in Russell's mini-films.  Delerue's French is not translated or sub-titled.  The ending, with a piano in flames, and the flames slowly fading, skipping along the keys, till the piano is intact and it clear the film has been reversed, is one of Russell's most powerful images. Russell at his very best.

the burning piano in Ken Russell's Don't Shoot the Composer


More television

Click title for film Picture Stories (Charlotte Bronte) * Peepshow * Knights on Bikes * Amelia and the Angel, Lourdes * Poet's London * Gordon Jacob * Guitar Crazy * Variations on a mechanical theme, Two Painters * portrait of a Goon * Marie Rambert remembers * Architecture and entertainment * Cranks at Work * The miner's picnic * Shelagh Delaney's Salford * A house in Bayswater * The light fantastic * London Moods * Antonio Gaudi * Lotte Lenya sings Kurt Weill * Old Battersea House * Portrait of a Soviet Composer * Pop goes the easel * Preservation man * Mr Chesher´s traction engines * Elgar * Watch the birdie * The lonely shore * Bartok * The dotty world of James Lloyd * Diary of a nobody * The Debussy Film * Always on a Sunday * Don't shoot the composer * Isadora * Dante's Inferno * Song of Summer * Dance of the Seven Veils * William and Dorothy * The Rime of the Ancient Mariner * ABC of British Music * A British Picture * The Planets * Vaughan Williams * The Strange Affliction of Anton Bruckner * The Secret Life of Sir Arnold Bax * The Mystery of Doctor Martinu * Classic Widows * In Search of the English Folk Song * Stories of Seduction * Prisoners of Honor * Lady Chatterley * Alice in Russialand * Ken Russell's Treasure Island * Tales of Erotica * Dogboys, Brighton Belles * Elgar A Portrait of the Composer on a Bicycle * Lion's Mouth * The Fall of the Louse of Usher * Revenge of the Elephant Man (Hot Pants 1) * the Mystery of Mata Hari (Hot Pants 2) * The Goodship Venus (Hot Pants 3) * Advertisements * Trial of the Century * She's So Beautiful * Phantom of the Opera * Nikita, Cry for Heaven * Diana * Its all coming back to me now * Teenager in Love * The Death of Scriabin


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