Please donate to help save PopMatters. We are moving to WordPress in January out of necessity and need your help.
Featured: Top of Home Page

Russell's Revision: 'The Music Lovers'

The movie is fast, funny, always visual, always musical, always melodramatic in the literal sense.


The Music Lovers

Director: Ken Russell
Cast: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson
Distributor: MGM Ltd. Edition
Rated: Not rated
Year: 1951
USDVD release date: 2012-10-12

What a ravishing, punch-drunk movie this is. It glories in music and its fleeting visual and emotional associations, and it wallows in the precious despondencies of the soul--which may be the famous "Russian soul" but at any rate feels bracingly contemporary over 30 years later (or 130, as the case may be). It's got neurosis, nymphomania, repressed homosexuality, outright madness, and the most dangerous condition of all--celebrity--all rendered dizzying by the most powerful drug of all--music.

From one point of view, this movie's closeted hero, referred to as Peter Tchaikovsky (Richard Chamberlain, ahem), had an enviably charmed life as a talented man given the freedom and space to create masterpieces (which he did) by an understanding fairy godmother, a Countess who carried on a correspondence with him and offered the use of a "summer cottage" big enough to billet a platoon. From another point of view, it was one damn thing after another, including a spectacular wreck of a marriage to the crazy nympho who fails to "cure" him--enter Glenda Jackson, the parallax of her gaze capable of cutting glass.

Ken Russell's films have often been accused of extravagance (as though that's a bad thing) in the sense of leaving "realism" and sense behind, but Melvyn Bragg's screenplay follows the biographical program of the composer's life pretty closely, at least if the Encyclopedia Britannica is any confirmation. Some things get left out, of course, but all the juicy stuff here seems as true as possible. The movie is fast, funny, always visual, always musical, always melodramatic in the literal sense. Finally available letterboxed as part of MGM Limited Editions' on-demand service, it's ready to be inhaled or injected.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Film


Books


Television




© 1999-2020 PopMatters Media, Inc. All rights reserved. PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.






Features
Collapse Expand Features



Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.