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Ken Russell

Ken Russell

(1927 – 2011)

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United Kingdom

Ken Russell

Ken Russell
(1927 – 2011)

In memory of

Ken Russell

(1927 – 2011)
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About Ken
This is an online obituary dedicated in memory of Ken Russell. Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell was an English film director, known for his pioneering work in television and film and for his flamboyant and controversial style. He attracted criticism as being over-obsessed with sexuality and the church. His films often dealt with the lives of famous composers or were based on other works of art which he adapted loosely. Ken Russell began directing for the BBC, where he made creative adaptations of composers' lives which were unusual for the time. He also directed many feature films independently and for studios.
He is best known for his Oscar-winning film Women in Love (1969), The Devils (1971), The Who's Tommy
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About Ken
(1975), and the science fiction film Altered States (1980). Classical musicians and conductors held him in high regard for his story-driven biopics of various composers, most famously Elgar, Delius, Liszt, Mahler and Tchaikovsky.
British film critic Mark Kermode, attempting to sum up the director's achievement, called Ken Russell; "somebody who proved that British cinema didn't have to be about kitchen-sink realism—it could be every bit as flamboyant as Fellini. He now makes very strange experimental films like Lion's Mouth and Revenge of the Elephant Man, and they are as edgy and out there as the work he made in the 1970s".
In 1969, Russell directed what is considered his "signature film", Women
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About Ken
In Love, a rollicking adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's novel of the same name about two artist sisters living in post-World War I Britain. The film starred Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed, Jennie Linden and Alan Bates. 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 1960s. It was nominated for several Oscars, and won one for Glenda Jackson for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Ken Russell himself was nominated for an Oscar — that for Best Director — as were his cinematographer and screenwriter.
The film is also notable
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About Ken
for the BAFTA-nominated costume designs of Ken Russell's wife, Shirley, the mother of his 5 children, with whom he would collaborate throughout the 1970s. The colour schemes of Luciana Arrighi's art direction (also BAFTA-nominated) and Billy William's cinematography, which Ken Russell used for metaphorical effect, are also often referred to by film textbooks. Ken Russell enjoyed a short-lived prestige during this period, when he was praised as "Britain's Orson Welles".
He followed Women in Love with a string of innovative adult-themed films which were often as controversial as they were successful. The Music Lovers (1970), a biopic of Tchaikovsky, starred Richard Chamberlain as a flamboyant Tchaikovsky and
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About Ken
Glenda Jackson as his wife. The score was conducted to great acclaim by André Previn. The film was widely panned but was successful at the box office.
The following year, Ken Russell released The Devils, a film so controversial that its backers, the American company Warner Brothers, refused to release it uncut. Inspired by Aldous Huxley's book The Devils of Loudun and using material from John Whiting's play The Devils, it starred Oliver Reed as a priest who stands in the way of a corrupt church and state. 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
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About Ken
cut for distribution in Britain, was further edited.
Ken Russell died on the 27th November 2011. This is an online tribute dedicated to his life and his work. May he rest in peace.
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Ken Russell - tribute extract

Ken Russell

This is an online obituary dedicated in memory of Ken Russell. Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell was an English film director, known for his pioneering work in television and film and for his flamboyant and controversial style. He attracted criticism as being over-obsessed with sexuality and the church. His films often dealt with the lives of famous composers or were based on other works of art which he adapted loosely. Ken Russell began directing for the BBC, where he made creative adaptations of composers' lives which were unusual for the time. He also directed many feature films independently and for studios.
He is best known for his Oscar-winning film Women in Love (1969), The Devils (1971), The Who's Tommy...

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Rest in peace Ken
I first met Ken at ****
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