Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Vale: Ken Russell

If you hadn't caught up, Ken Russell died in his sleep yesterday at age 84. He was currently working on a new film, in the process of casting and his death was unexpected. So extreme - outrageous - ribald and above all surprising and unexpected, Ken Russell's work has been much admired in this household for years from his early days when my English teacher Miss Forsyth introduced me to The Devils in Year 11 way back in 1971. His extremes shocked and amazed me and left an indelible mark as he demonstrated what film could be if you were prepared to push it to the limits.

I loved Tommy and his adaptation of The Rainbow by D H Lawrence I would still class as one of his best. Litzomania, Lair of the White Worm - all shocking and self indulgent but all memorable films like all of Russell's work. If ever you get to see any of the B&W works he made on the biographies of the great composers for the BBC at the start of his career, you should not miss them.  It is sad he has been so neglected in recent years and perhaps his death will spur a revival. Much loved - much copied and he will be missed.

Burn brightly, Pete

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