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Ken Russell hot news

Last update 11 April 2024

The Music Lovers on Blu-ray

Ken Russell - The Music Lovers - Bluray 

The British Film Institute are releasing The Music Lovers, Ken Russell's film on Tchaikovsky, on Blu-ray with many extras:

  • Presented in High Definition

  • Newly recorded audio commentary by film historian Matthew Melia

  • Interview with Alexander Verney-Elliott (2024): Ken Russell's son looks back upon his father's work, and remembers his own appearance in The Music Love

  • Charlotte Bronte Enters the Big Brother House (2007, 16 mins): Ken Russell staged, directed and filmed this 'Radical Bronte' ballet for young people, illustrating Jane Eyre

  • The Guardian Interview: Melvyn Bragg (1988, c76mins): Ten years after the inception of The Southbank Show, Melvyn Bragg discusses his career in television and film writer Ronald Harwood, at the National Film Theatre in London.

  • Galina Ulanova in "Swan Lake" (1940, 6 mins): one of the greatest ballerinas of all time is seen performing a dance from Swan Lake. As this rare footage is silent, for best results, watch it as you listen to your favourite recording of the Adagio from Act 2

  • USSR Today: Edited highlights from three editions of the Soviet newsreel, gathering items about Tchaikovsky and Russian musical arts.

  • Original trailer

  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY- Illustrated booklet with new writing on the film by Matthew Melia, a new essay by Caroline Langhorst and contributions from Alexander Verney-Elliott and Lisi Russell

It will be released 17 June 2024.

For more on The Music Lovers click here.

Folk Horror on Film

Ken Russell - British Horror on Film 

A new book Folk horror on film edited by Kevin J. Donnelly and Louis Bayman has been issued, and will include Ken Russell's The Lair of the White Worm".

"What is folk horror and how culturally significant is it?  This collection is the first study to address these questions while considering the special importance of British cinema to the genre's development.  The book presents political and aesthetic analyses of folk horror's uncanny landscapes and frightful folk. It places canonical films like Witchfinder General (1968), The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971) and The Wicker Man (1973) in a new light and expands the canon to include films like the sci-fi horror Doomwatch (1970-72) and the horror documentary Requiem for a Village (1975) alongside filmmakers Ken Russell and Ben Wheatley".

Sounds interesting.  It is currently an expensive hardback (£90) but when in paperback I will post more.

For more on The Lair of the White Worm click here .

Shirley Russell's costumes for The Music Lovers

Ken Russell - The Music Lovers - Shirley Russell

Shirley Russell's work on costumes for The Music Lovers, with an informative article by Claire Smith of the British Film Institute.

"The costumes of the central characters look forward from the war to the youth, vigour and energy of the 1920s style. Scouring London markets and regional auctions for examples of period dress, [Shirley] Russell made the moment relevant; seeking links between the present and the vivacious, wild but often troubled bright young things of the decade...".

The article by Claire Smith on the BFI website is here

For more on The Music Lovers click here

The Lair of the White Worm on Blu-ray

Ken Russell - Lair of the White Worm - Blu ray cover 

A Blu-ray of Lair of the White Worm is to be released in the USA on 14 May 2024.

Extras include:

  • a commentary by Ken Russell

  •  Lisi Russell in conversation with Film Historian Matthew Melia

  • The featurette “Worm Food: The Effects of The Lair of the White Worm”

  • Interviews with Editor Peter Davies and Actress Sammi Davis

  • plus trailers and gallery.

For more on The Lair of the White Worm click here.

Tommy in Macedonia

Ken Russell film of The Who Tommy

Tommy is on at the Cinematheque in Macedonia on 29 Feb 2024.

For details see the Cinematheque site click here.

For more on Tommy click here.

The Dance of the Seven Veils coming on Blu-ray

Ken Russell Dance of the Seven Veils

The copyright on Richard Strauss' music has expired, so there is no legal obstruction to presenting The Dance of the Seven Veils.  The BFI are looking at issuing a Blu-ray.  More details when known.

Thanks to Alex for the information.

YouTube tribute to Ken Russell

A tribute to the visual imagery of Ken Russell's films set to the Sparks song This Town Ain't Big Enough For the Both of Us.

 The link is here.

Elton John pinball machine signed by Ken Russell

Ken Russell Elton John pinball machine 

You can buy an Elton John pinball machine signed by Ken Russell for only £19,900 !!!!

"This is a piece of Pinball history. Capt Fantastic pinball was made to celebrate the Tommy film produced by the legendary Ken Russell.  The art depicts the Kings Theatre PINBALL WIZARD showdown with Elton John playing his custom pinball in big red boots and glasses.  The machine available was used in a Portsmouth Film Festival event where Ken signed his name on the backglass art".

The pinball machine is on sale here.

For more on Tommy click here.

Gothic on Blu-ray

Ken Russell Gothic

The British Film Institute (BFI) have issued Gothic on Blu-ray.  It has tons of extras including two extra films:

  • Feature commentary by film historian Matthew Melia and Lisi Russell (2018)

  • The Fall of the Louse of Usher (2002, 83 mins): Ken Russell returns to gothic themes in this legendarily lurid late video work featuring an all-star cast

  • A Haunted Evening (2023, 35 mins): Stephen Volk, the writer of Gothic, revisits his earliest feature script

  • The Sound of Shelley with Julian Sands (2017, 18 mins): the actor reflects upon the making of Gothic

  • Amelia and the Angel (1958, 27 mins): in this charming early Russell short, a young girl, cast as an angel in the school play, is distraught when her brother damages her treasured wings. Pocket money in hand, Amelia traverses London on the hunt for a new pair in time for the play

  • The Guardian Lecture: Ken Russell in conversation with Derek Malcolm (1987, 87 mins, audio only): the director reflects upon his career, at the time of Gothic.

Georgina Hale passes away

Ken Russell - The Devils - Georgina Hale

Sadly Georgina Hale has passed away.  For me her most memorable performance were in Maher (wife Alma Mahler) and The Devils (Philippe).  More soon.

Ken Russell Book launch and Symposium

ReFocus - the films of Ken Russell

A new book Refocus: the Films of Ken Russell, part of ReFocus: The International Directors Series, edited by Matthew Melia.

Shoddy Wikipedia article on The Music Lovers

To give an example of biased criticism of Ken Russell see the Wikipedia entry.  It quotes Time Out New York on The Music Lovers "vulgar, excessive, melodramatic and self-indulgent . . . " (Wikipedia, accessed 3 May 2023, click here).

Ken Russell - The Music Lovers - Wikipedia shoddy quote

The "..." cuts out some words.  The original reads "vulgar, excessive, melodramatic and self-indulgent: Tchaikovsky's music is indeed all of these things, yet gloriously so, and the same goes for Ken Russell at his freewheeling best" (TJ, Time Out, 10 September 2012, click here).

This is shoddy misrepresentation of the review by TJ, of Tchaikovsky and of Ken Russell.

Too late- you missed it

Altered States and Lair of the White Worm in Los Angeles

Catherine Oxenberg in Ken Russell The Lair of the White Worm

New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles present Altered States and Lair of the White Worm. They are on 3, 4 Feb 2024.

For the cinema website click here
For more on Altered States click here
For more on Lair of the White Worm click here

Whore in New York

Theresa Russell in Ken Russell Whore

The IFC Centre in New York are showing Whore from 19- 27 Jan 2024.

"This searing melodrama investigates the life of a prostitute in a pseudo-documentary style. The life of a hooker isn’t easy…".

It is on at the IFC Centre, for the website click here.

For more on Whore click here.

Gothic in Christchurch, UK

Ken Russell Gothic

Dirt In The Gate Movies present Gothic in the Regent in Christchurch, UK. It is on 20 Jan 2024.

For details click on the Regent website here.

For more on Gothic click here.

Ken Russell season on the Criterion Channel

Ken Russell Shocking Rhapsodies 

In Jan 2024 the Criterion Channel present Ken Russell's Shocking Rhapsodies, showing ten of his films.

"Passionate, transgressive, over-the-top, and unforgettable: the films of British iconoclast Ken Russell have rarely been surpassed in their feverish visual imagination and sheer audaciousness. Courting controversy after controversy with provocations like The Devils, Mahler, and Altered States, Russell explored the extremes of sexuality, violence, religion, and creativity through elaborate, often eye-popping mise-en-scène and performances of hysterical excess. The result is a cinema that still feels daring and fresh, with unbridled romanticism and surreal flights of fancy woven into his boundary-pushing narratives.

FEATURING: The Boy Friend (1971), The Devils (1971), Savage Messiah (1972), Mahler (1974), Altered States (1980), Gothic (1986), The Lair of the White Worm (1988), Salome’s Last Dance (1988), The Rainbow (1989), Whore (1991)".

 The link to Criterion is here.

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