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On one occasion he was made to stand watch in the blazing sun for hours on end while crossing the Pacific. His lunatic captain feared an attack by Japanese midget submarines despite the war having ended. He moved into television work after short careers in dance and photography.
Television work[ edit ] Between and , Russell directed art documentaries for Monitor and Omnibus. His best known works during this period include: He once said that the best film he ever made was Song of Summer, and that he would not edit a single shot. It was also the first time that re-enactments were used. Russell fought with the BBC over using actors to portray different ages of the same character, instead of the traditional photograph stills and documentary footage.
The Strauss family was so outraged by the film that they withdrew all music rights. It is a wordless collage that matches stock footage to each of the seven movements of the Holst suite. John Coulthart wrote "familiar Russell obsessions appear: Nazis , naked women and the inevitable crucifixion.
One of his films there, in , was Always on Sunday , a bio-pic of the late 19th century French naive painter Henri Rousseau known as Le Douanier. In , Russell directed what is considered his "signature film", Women In Love , an adaptation of D. The film is notable for its nude wrestling scene, which broke the convention at the time that a mainstream movie could not show male genitalia. Women in Love connected with the sexual revolution and bohemian politics of the late s.
It received several Oscar nominations, including his only nomination for Best Director. The following year, Russell released The Devils , a film so controversial that the producers Warner Bros. Helped by publicity over the more sensational scenes, featuring sexuality among nuns, the film topped British box office receipts for eight weeks.
In the United States, the film, which had already been cut for distribution in Britain, was further edited but never widely released theatrically in anything like its original state; the original, uncut version has only been shown in the U.
Russell followed The Devils with a reworking of the period musical The Boy Friend , for which he cast the model Twiggy , who won two Golden Globe Awards for her performance: The film was heavily cut and shorn of two musical numbers for its American release; it was not a big success.
Russell himself provided most of the financing for Savage Messiah , released in In , Russell worked with David Puttnam on Mahler , widely regarded as one of his best pieces of work. Two months before Tommy was released in March , Russell started work on Lisztomania , another vehicle for Roger Daltrey , and for the film scoring of progressive rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman.
Tommy and Lisztomania were important in the rise of improved motion picture sound in the s, as they were among the first films to be released with Dolby -encoded soundtracks. The film had an innovative Oscar -nominated score by John Corigliano. After taking a break from film to direct opera, Russell found financing with various independent companies.
Russell finished the s with The Rainbow , another D. Lawrence adaptation, which also happens to be the prequel to Women in Love. Glenda Jackson played the mother of her character in the previous film. Russell henceforth occasionally acted. The film Prisoner of Honor allowed Russell a further opportunity to explore his abiding interest in anti-Semitism through a factually-based account of the Dreyfus Affair in France.
In , Russell directed his final film of any note, Whore. It was highly controversial and branded with an NC rating for its sexual content. Russell protested his film being given such a rating when Pretty Woman got an R , on the grounds that his film showed the real hardships of being a prostitute, and the other glorified it. Return to television[ edit ] By the early s, Russell had become a celebrity: He became largely reliant on his own finances to continue making films.
Much of his work after was commissioned for television e.
The films of Ken Russell - Photo 1 - Pictures - CBS News
Late career[ edit ] In May , he was honoured with a retrospective of his work presented in Hollywood by the American Cinematheque. Russell attended the festival and engaged in lengthy post-screening discussions of each film with audiences and moderator Martin Lewis,  who had instigated and curated the retrospective.
He also had a cameo in the Colour Me Kubrick. He directed a segment for the horror anthology Trapped Ashes which also includes segments directed by Sean S. Cunningham , Monte Hellman , and Joe Dante. Prior to his death in he was reputed to be in pre-production for two films: The Pearl of the Orient and Kings X. In he was a member of the jury at the 25th Moscow International Film Festival. One of his many tasks was to advise students on the making of their graduate films.
Russell was appointed visiting fellow at the University of Southampton in April , where he acted in a similar capacity to his role at the Newport Film School , until March Russell commented that "Ten years ago, while working on The South Bank Show, Melvyn Bragg and I had a heated discussion on the pros and cons of film censorship.
Broadly speaking, Melvyn was against it, while I, much to his surprise, was absolutely for it. He then dared me to write a script that I thought should be banned. I accepted the challenge and a month or so later sent him a short subject entitled A Kitten for Hitler. The next stop was Russellmania!
Tommy Tune joined Russell the next evening for The Boy Friend and followed the screening with a live stage dance number from the film.
Director Mick Garris extended an invitation and Russell, Tribble, and Rupe joined the Masters of Horror for one of their rarified dinners. Anthony Horowitz has written a fascinating thriller with a new surprise every five minutes", said Russell. This section does not cite any sources.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message Besides books on film-making and the British film industry, Russell also wrote A British Picture: The Autobiography of Ken Russell, He also published six novels, including four on the sex lives of composers — Beethoven Confidential, Brahms Gets Laid, Elgar: The Erotic Variations, and Delius: A Moment with Venus.
His last novel, also science-fiction and published in , is called Violation. It is a very violent future-shock tale of an England where football has become the national religion. At the time of his death, he had a column for The Times in the Film section of times 2. Photography[ edit ] Before achieving success in the film industry, Russell enjoyed a brief fling with still photography.
An exhibition Ken Russell: Filmmaker, Photographer ran at several galleries in The production featured a range of erotic imagery, including studded bras and spiked codpieces. Russell converted to Roman Catholicism during the s.
His first marriage, to costume designer Shirley Kingdon from to , produced four sons and a daughter. He was married to Vivian Jolly from to the wedding celebrant being Anthony Perkins , who had been ordained in the Universal Life Church ;  the couple had a son and daughter.
He was married to the actress and former ballerina Hetty Baynes from to ;  the couple had a son. His first three marriages ended in divorce.
Ken Russell - IMDb
He married Elize Tribble in , and the marriage lasted until his death. His last three wives and all eight of his children survived him. Upon his death he left his entire estate to his fourth wife, Lisi Tribble.
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