DIRECTOR: KEN RUSSELL
COUNTRY: ENGLAND 1972
CINEMATOGRAPHY: DICK BUSH
MUSIC: MICHAEL GARRETT
CAST: Scott Anthony, Dorothy Tutin, Helen Mirren, Lindsay Kemp, Michael Gough, John Justin
SUPER FEATURES: Story of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, the French Sculptor
I am partial to some film biographies of artists. Some are overly creative but I have always felt that this was good for the art form, as long as it did not make the whole thing look stupid.
Ken Russell was, and still is, one of the masters of biographies. His young days consisted of a series of BBC specials on the lives of various artists. Some of them were exceptional, though they have never hit the larger screen, or their release as videos have been deemed to the vaults of the crapped up BBC conglomerate. ( Ditto for THE GOONS ). Of special mention, were one on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and one on Isadora Duncan. But the BBC cares not for the arts, but its ego, and its immense fortune.
This very special, subtle, and funny film, is, a quiet film, much like MAHLER, about what was thought a second rate artist during the early decade of this century. While he was spending his time doing his sculptures and other projects, he basically paid for his art by creating copies of original art works, which some collectors and their agents were trading for obscene amounts of money.
As he becomes better known, he is eventually trapped by authorities, but decides to go off to war, instead. The story continues, and like the furtive personality that the main character lives under, the film pulls off the same on us. It is how we find out what happened to him. And an ensuing display of his art, is a wonderful tribute to a man that deserved a lot better, and is finally getting a bit of his due, were it not that he was known to be one of the finest copy makers ever.
There are some exceptional performances in this film, Dorothy Tutin, and a young Helen Mirren come to mind off the bat, and they make this
film a real treat. Worth seeing anytime. It is not boring at all.
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