November 28, 2011

"I believe in what I’m doing wholeheartedly, passionately, and what’s more, I simply go about my business. I suppose such a thing can be annoying to some people."

Thank you, Ken Russell, for that insight, and for committing passionately to your business. Carrying on without the great filmmaker — dead now at 84 — maybe we can can go about our business, with a little more passion and a little less attention to how annoying we are to some people.

For many years — through the 1980s and 1980s — I had a fixed list of 5 films that were my personal favorites. 2 were Ken Russell films: "Mahler" and "The Devils."*
His 1971 film “The Devils,” based on real events that had inspired a play by John Whiting and a book by Aldous Huxley, tells the grotesque story of demonic possession at a French convent, complete with exorcism rituals and blasphemous orgies. Mr. Russell, who converted to Catholicism in the 1950s, saw the film as an attack on the corrupt union of church and state.

The American funders and the British censors called for cuts. The Catholic Church condemned the movie when it was screened at the Venice Film Festival. Even in its edited version, the film was banned by several local authorities in Britain; it was further trimmed in the United States to avoid an X-rating....

Reviewing “The Devils” in The New York Times, Vincent Canby called Mr. Russell “a hobbyist determined to reproduce ‘The Last Supper’ in bottle tops.” Pauline Kael called him a “shrill, screaming gossip.”

Mr. Russell was not above fighting back. Appearing on live television shortly after the release of “The Devils” with the British critic Alexander Walker, who had denounced the film as “monstrously indecent,” Mr. Russell hit him on the head with a rolled-up newspaper.
I don't think there's a decent "Devils" DVD, or I'd order it right now. Wikipedia — with "citation needed" — says: "The British Film Institute have announced they will release the UK-theatrical Version (111 minutes) on DVD in March 2012."

I wish, when a great director dies, HBO (or some other TV channel) would put all his movies up on Video on Demand. I hesitate to link to the trailer for the movie because it's such a pathetic trailer.

I can't even find the rolled-up-newspaper incident on YouTube.
_________________________________

* The other 3 were: "Aguirre the Wrath of God," "My Dinner with Andre," and "City of Women."

24 comments:

KenK said...

MDWA certainly was a strange film.

The Crack Emcee said...

Maybe we can can go about our business, with a little more passion and a little less attention to how annoying we are to some people.

Well. That statement can justify almost anything, huh? (Why have lefties always looked for self-serving ways to do that? Have they no higher ambition in life?) From disruptions in the 60s to The People's Temple to OWS, all one has to say is "we can can go about our business, with a little more passion and a little less attention to how annoying we are to some people" - with no concern for right or wrong or whether or not they're correct in their formulations - and it's O.K..

No matter what, if they do it, it's always O.K.

I love cult logic.

R.I.P. Ken, boy - you did good.

Quaestor said...

"The Devils" complete, on YouTube

I rather liked "The Lair of the White Worm", especially this bit and the Scotsman with an arsenal under his kilt.

madAsHell said...

...and you overlook Tommy!?!?!

yeah, I think it sucked too.

pm317 said...

I didn't know about his 'Mahler' movie.

{as an aside, listening to Mahler's 4th in the dead of winter, makes you feel like you are frolicking on a meadow in a warm sunny day.}

Heart_Collector said...

November 28, 2011
"I believe in what I’m doing wholeheartedly, passionately, and what’s more, I simply go about my business. I suppose such a thing can be annoying to some people."


Well said espically in comparison to todays current society of look at me reality tv instant gratification friend count tweeters.

I am involved in music and I dont think I could sum up my personal views on it better than this guys quote.

I dont understand the current trends of trying to get the entire world into what your doing and suck self esteem approval out of it like some kind of lifeblood.

The Crack Emcee said...

Last week, 5,000 files of private email correspondence among several of the world's top climate scientists were anonymously leaked onto the Internet. Like the first "climategate" leak of 2009, the latest release shows top scientists in the field fudging data, conspiring to bully and silence opponents, and displaying far less certainty about the reliability of anthropogenic global warming theory in private than they ever admit in public.

The scientists include men like Michael Mann of Penn State University and Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, both of whose reports inform what President Obama has called "the gold standard" of international climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The new release of emails was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the original climategate leak and with the upcoming United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa. And it has already stirred strong emotions. To Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.), for example, the leaker or leakers responsible are attempting to "sabotage the international climate talks" and should be identified and brought "to justice."

One might sympathize with Mr. Markey's outrage if, say, the emails were maliciously rewritten or invented. But at least one scientist involved—Mr. Mann—has confirmed that the emails are genuine, as were the first batch released two years ago. So any malfeasance revealed therein ought to be blamed on the scientists who wrote them, rather than on the whistleblower who exposed them.


But that's O.K. - deceiving everyone (can you imagine being one of those "scientists" during the height of the "consensus"?) wasting tons of money, and now attempting to pervert justice - because all one had/has to say is "we can can go about our business, with a little more passion and a little less attention to how annoying we are to some people" and all is well.

All is well,...

Heart_Collector said...

Top 5 greatest movies.

The Unforgiven
Predator
Kingdom of Heaven
Pump up the Volume
Whos Harry Crumb

Ive never seen any of Ann's fav movies.

Ive actually never heard of em...

Bob_R said...

Ann-Margret, baked beans, I'll never be the same.

Paul Zrimsek said...

listening to Mahler's 4th in the dead of winter, makes you feel like you are frolicking on a meadow in a warm sunny day

No accounting for extra-musical associations! The first part of the slow movement always makes me think of coming home in a winter sunset.

Ann Althouse said...

"...and you overlook Tommy!?!?!"

I despise comments in that form. Do you know how many films Russell directed? The failure to mention them all is to "overlook" everything not mentioned? If you want to feature "Tommy" in your comments here, go ahead. I'm talking about the 2 films that reached me more than the others. To perceive in that a disregard for any of the others is a misreading. I get comments in this form all the time, but in this case, the man just died.

Heart_Collector said...

Every man dies, not every man really lives.

edutcher said...

I remember the splash "Women In Love" made at the time, but the only picture with which I ever associated his name was "The Boyfriend", only because everybody made such a fuss about Twiggy being in it.

Heart_Collector said...

Top 5 greatest movies.

The Unforgiven


"The Unforgiven" is a great, moody Western with Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Bickford, and Lillian Gish.

I'm assuming, however, you mean "Unforgiven", which is another of Clint's moral relativism fests.

dbp said...

I only realized once I had read the article that Ken Russell directed both Tommy and Altered States.

The first thing that struck me was how similar Ann Margret and Blair Brown look. How much influence does the director have on casting?

William said...

That's an extemely idiosyncratic list....Klaus Kinski in Aguirre truly radiated madness and obsession. I don't think it was acting....I hoped Roman Polanski would marry Nassia Kinski. There's a guy who deserved Klaus Kinski as a father in law.

madAsHell said...

Yikes!!

I apologize for putting words, or assumptions into your message.

Yes, he can no longer defend his creation, but I don't think that changes anything. Tommy was on overly long commercial to sell records.

pm317 said...

Paul Zrimsek said...
--------------

Interesting.. Now tell me if you don't start swaying and tapping your feet, smiling silly.. :) when you listen to Delius' Florida Suite and 3rd movement, and at around 3:50..lasts only for a minute.

Heart_Collector said...

Yes the clint eastwood unforgiven Ed... He nails this drearyness and his character speaks to me. How he slips into his old ways and says fuck it and just kills everyone.

William said...

There's the movies that you say are your favorites, and the ones that you re-watch when they come on television. Tommy may not be Russell's best movie, but it's the one most people have seen more than once.....i suspect the Althouse list will be supplanted when the boxed set of Twilight comes out.

X said...

Althouse's list is so 70's.



my current favorite 5:
The Left Hand of God
Yojimbo
Sahara
Dean Spanley
Calvin Marshall

Crunchy Frog said...

Wow, some sucky lists here.

Here's a much better one:

The Godfather
Goodfellas
Fight Club
Star Wars (ep 4)
Blazing Saddles

ricpic said...

It would demonstrate modesty to call Russell a director of note and let posterity sort out whether or not he was a "great director."


Nassia Kinski Polanski
Only did anal with Roman.
They strictly abjured missionary
As being a bad omen.

Jose_K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jose_K said...

Natasha Kinski was great in Maria´s Lover
A great western: The Duel with Kirk Douglas.
Big Jake
The War Wagon
A New Hope (it was a western with light sables)
I was educated as catholic and stil was one when I read The Demons of Loudon ( the book by Aldous Huxley). For me it was about every system of mind control. What he said was true of communism or fascism as for religion or even Apple fanboys.
The first movie by Ken Russll I watched was Whore with his own sister as actress( Teresa Russell of the Black Widow)