CINEMATOGRAPHY:    Douglas Slocombe
CAST:                     Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrien
MUSIC:                  Conducted by Andre Previn
SCREENPLAY:      Melvyn Bragg
ONE WORD:          Very nice film and story, only extravagant at the end.

This film, is nice, although the barrage of music imagery will undoubtedly be thought of, today, as a little overbearing, and occasionally tiresome. But one gets the idea why it is that MTV is what it is today, because some twenty years ago, this was the interpretation which was beginning to show itself to many of us.

It is the story of classical composer Tchaikovsky, and his very tormented life, that many people wanted a part of, and leeched his body for it. And while his ability to write is based more on his inner abilities, he really spent most of his life fantasizing about those he knew, rather than love them. The price one pays for the gift we have sometimes...

And from the earlier, young man days' suggestion of many homosexual tendencies, to the days when his patroness helped him write music by being an absent housewife, and later his conducting successes, this film is really about a troubled genius, looking for some peace of mind, with which to compose.

And in typical Ken Russell fashion, it shows many of the excesses which may, or may not, have been a part of the whole thing. From his romantic affair, to a failed marriage with a socialite, whose mother is only thinking of the advantages of procuring an estate from anybody, to the inevitable destruction of his patroness' ideals by way of his friendship with the Countess' son, and a bombastic finale to music.... if MTV only knew that these movies were around...

With glorious costumes, and beautifully colored photography by Douglas Slocombe, who captures the beauty in the music so vividly, this is a good film, despite some 'filler' dialogue which just never helps the action of the film.

Ken Russell, had already done for the BBC, many biographies, the best which I had ever seen having been on the neo-raphaelite DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, and also a beautiful one on ISADORA DUNCAN with Vivian Pickles in the lead role (ten times better than the one made later by Karel Reitz). And his life in film has been a continuous biography of many artists, with MAHLER, SAVAGE MESSIAH, being his most subdued, and best of all. Aside from Ken's version of TOMMY, that was a bit on the weird side and probably didn't have to be, if there is a man in film that knew how to use music and display it, Ken Russell was one of them. Not the only one, but certainly one of the better ones as he has a way of making you "see" the music.

All in all, THE MUSIC LOVERS is a good film about one man attempting to survive in an atmosphere where people are just mad about music, and will do nearly anything to achieve their goals and means. This film spares not their heads, literally.

GOOD FILM. A BIT DATED for the 21st Century audiences.




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