There was an interesting letter in that scurrilous rag, the Daily Mail yesterday, printed under the headline, “Let Ken’s movies inspire a new audience”. It was written by Paul Sutton, of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, who gave a passionate plea for the BBC to stop using edited clips of Ken Russell’s early TV work to liven-up crap shows made by today’s lesser talented directors:
These Ken Russell films aren’t entertainment fit only for ‘found footage’. They’re films, works of very real cinema in which every frame,pictorial composition, cut and music cue has been thought through with a craftsman’s hand and an artist’s mind and eye. They constitute a body of work which stands with the best of any director working anywhere in the world between 1959 and 1970.
Mr. Sutton went on to explains how both Lindsay Anderson, in If…, and Stanley Kubrick, in A Clockwork Orange, lifted from Russell’s TV work, and concludes:
Every one of Ken Russell’s 35 BBC films displays the master’s art. We should be boasting about them and using them to inspire the next Lindsay Anderson, the next Stanley Kubrick and the next Ken Russell.
I for one, certainly do hope the BBC listen up and release all of Ken Russell’s TV films for all of us to enjoy, very soon.
Most recently, the Beeb made this fine documentary Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil , and while it doesn’t cover all of the great, genius director’s work (no Savage Messiah, no Crimes of Passion, no Salome’s Last Dance) it does manage to show why Ken Russell was England’s greatest film director of the last 50 years, and one of the world’s most important film directors of the twentieth century.
Presneted by Alan Yentob, this documentary tribute includes interviews with Glenda Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Twiggy, Melvyn Bragg, Amanda Donohoe, Robert Powell and Roger Daltrey.
Read Paul Sutton’s blog on Ken Russell, Lindsay Anderson and Stanley Kubrick here.
With thanks to Unkle Ken Russell
More on L’enfant terrible Msr. Russell, after the jump…