The Music Lovers (1970)

Ken Russell directs Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson and Kenneth Colley in this extreme biography of Tchaikovsky.

Nobody… before or after… made movies like Ken Russell. There is nothing restrained by his filmmaking, no concessions. Here he frames Tchaikovsky as a selfish shit and all around him as wanting to cage him in. Homosexuality, incest, madness, death. And some of the most baroque, extreme musical numbers ever committed to celluloid. When it isn’t overly grim The Music Lovers can be a sumptuous feast for the eyes, marrying the classical music to the OTT visuals gloriously. Glenda Jackson is firing on all cylinders as the composer’s doomed wife. Her fate is so nightmarishly awful that it might be another decade before I can build up the courage to rewatch but there is so much great cinema squeezed in here that it will be more than worth the effort.


Perfect Double Bill: Tommy (1975)

I write regular features about live comedy for British Comedy Guide here


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