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Ken Russell is a Actor, Director, Scriptwriter, Producer and Editor British born on 3 july 1927 at Southampton (United-kingdom)

Ken Russell

Ken Russell
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Birth name Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell
Nationality United-kingdom
Birth 3 july 1927 at Southampton (United-kingdom)
Death 27 november 2011 (at 84 years) at London (United-kingdom)

Henry Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Russell (3 July 1927 – 27 November 2011) was an English film director, known for his pioneering work in television and film and for his flamboyant and controversial style. He attracted criticism for being 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. 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 (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.

Film critic Mark Kermode speaking in 2006, and attempting to sum up the director's achievement, called 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. Later in his life he turned to making experimental films such as Lion's Mouth and Revenge of the Elephant Man, and they are as edgy and 'out there' as ever".

Ken Russell died on 27 November 2011, at the age of 84, of natural causes.

Biography

Il est l'aîné des deux fils d'Ethel (née Smith) et de Henry Russell, le propriétaire d'un magasin de chaussures. Son père, froid et distant, alimente très tôt la rage du futur réalisateur à son égard. Pour le fuir, Russell passe beaucoup de son temps au cinéma avec sa mère, qui est atteinte d'une maladie mentale.

Enfant, il nourrit l'ambition de devenir danseur de ballet, mais étudie plutôt la photographie au Collège technique de Walthamstow (maintenant une partie de l'Université de Londres-Est). Il fait un temps partie de la Royal Air Force, puis de la marine marchande. Après une courte carrière de photographe de plateau pour des spectacles de danse, il travaille comme photographe documentaire indépendant jusqu'en 1959. Après cette date, ses documentaires associés au mouvement du Free Cinema lui assurent un emploi à la télévision de la BBC.

De 1959 à 1970, il réalisé des documentaires d'art, notamment Elgar (1962), The Debussy Film (1965), Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World (1967), Song of Summer (1968), un film consacré à Frederick Delius, et Dance of the Seven Veils (1970), un film sur Richard Strauss.

Avec les années, ses documentaires pour la télévision deviennent de plus en plus flamboyants et scandaleux. Dance of the Seven Veils, par exemple, cherche à dépeindre Richard Strauss comme un nazi. La famille Strauss, outrée par ces libertés, retire promptement les droits musicaux au producteur de sorte que le film est interdit de projection jusqu'en 2019.

French Dressing (1964), le premier long métrage de Russell est une comédie vaguement inspiré de Et Dieu… créa la femme de Roger Vadim. C'est un échec critique et commercial.

Son second film Un cerveau d'un milliard de dollars (1967), un film d'espionnage tiré d'un roman de Len Deighton, met en vedette Michael Caine.

C'est toutefois en 1969 que Russell signe son premier film vraiment personnel avec Love, une adaptation du roman Femmes amoureuses de D. H. Lawrence, avec Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed, Jennie Linden et Alan Bates. Le film fait scandale et demeure remarquable pour sa scène de lutte entre deux hommes nus, qui rompt avec les conventions des films grand public s'interdisant de montrer les organes génitaux mâles. Lié à la révolution sexuelle et à l'attitude bohème de la fin des années 1960, le film est un succès. Il remporte le Golden Globe du meilleur film en langue étrangère 1971. Il est également nommé pour plusieurs Oscars et Glenda Jackson remporte celui de la meilleure actrice. Russell lui-même est nommé pour l'Oscar du meilleur réalisateur.

Le film est aussi nommé pour 11 BAFTA.

Après ce succès, Russell donne plusieurs de ses meilleurs films sur des thèmes innovants ou controversés. La Symphonie pathétique (1970), est un film biographique échevelé sur Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski, avec Richard Chamberlain et Glenda Jackson dans le rôle de la femme nymphomane du compositeur russe. La musique est dirigée par André Previn.

L'année suivante, Russell réalise Les Diables, un film si controversé que ses bailleurs de fonds, la société américaine Warner Bros., exigent des coupures. Tiré du récit-essai Les Diables de Loudun par Aldous Huxley, le scénario utilise aussi comme matériau une pièce de John Whiting. Aidé par la publicité et les rumeurs de scandale, les scènes de sexualité chez les religieuses assurent des recettes remarquable au box-office pendant huit semaines. Aux États-Unis, le film est censuré par le distributeur.

Russell finance lui-même Savage Messiah (1972), un film biographique sur le peintre français Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. Le choix de ce peintre et sculpteur relativement obscur, mort en combattant pour la France à 23 ans, en 1915, dans les tranchées de la Première Guerre mondiale, laisse apparaître une réelle sensibilité chez un cinéaste qui était jusqu'alors connu pour des sujets plus flamboyants.

Russell travaille en collaboration avec David Puttnam sur Mahler (1974), l'un de ses meilleurs films, qui obtient pourtant un modeste succès, alors que Tommy (1975), la version cinématographique de l'opéra-rock éponyme de The Who, avec Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Elton John, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton et Jack Nicholson, est un très gros succès.

Valentino (1977), avec Rudolf Noureev dans le rôle-titre, occupe la première place au box-office britannique pendant deux semaines, mais obtient un succès beaucoup plus modeste en Amérique.

En 1980, avec Au-delà du réel fait une première incursion dans le film de science-fiction. À partir du scénario de Paddy Chayefsky (basé sur son roman), Russell met en valeur son penchant pour les effets visuels baroques afin de traduire les hallucinations du héros interprété par William Hurt. John Corigliano est nommé pour l'Oscar de la meilleure musique de film. Le comportement outrancier de Russell sur le plateau de tournage compromet toutefois sa carrière à Hollywood. Après Les Jours et les nuits de China Blue (1984), avec Kathleen Turner et Anthony Perkins, Russell rentre en Angleterre.

Pendant cette dernière période, il réalise notamment Gothic (1986), avec Gabriel Byrne, qui revient sur les circonstances entourant l'écriture par Mary Shelley de Frankenstein ou le Prométhée moderne (1818), et Le Repaire du ver blanc (1988), avec Amanda Donohoe et Hugh Grant, tiré du roman éponyme de Bram Stoker. En 1988 sort Salome's Last Dance, un hommage ésotérique vaguement adapté de la pièce controversée d'Oscar Wilde, interdite sur la scène londonienne au XIX siècle. Le goût prononcé de Russell pour les sujets qui font polémique est toujours intact, tout comme son intérêt pour les univers décadents et pour les personnages qui s'interrogent sur leur homosexualité, pourtant ses films obtiennent de moins en moins d'audience.

Ken Russell meurt 27 novembre 2011 à Londres à l'âge de 84 ans.

Best films

Tommy (1975)
(Director)
Women in Love (1969)
(Director)
The Devils (1971)
(Director)

Usually with

Dick Bush
Dick Bush
(6 films)
Stuart Baird
Stuart Baird
(7 films)
Oliver Reed
Oliver Reed
(6 films)
Source : Wikidata

Filmography of Ken Russell (29 films)

Display filmography as list

Actor

Mr. Nice
Mr. Nice (2010)
, 2h1
Directed by Bernard Rose
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, Comedy, Crime
Themes Medical-themed films, Films about drugs
Actors Rhys Ifans, Chloë Sevigny, Crispin Glover, David Thewlis, Olivia Grant, Omid Djalili
Roles Russell Miegs
Rating63% 3.1982353.1982353.1982353.1982353.198235
The film begins in 2010, with a 65-year-old Howard Marks going onto a stage in front of a packed theatre to great applause. Marks asks if there are any plain-clothes policemen sat in the audience, to which the reply is negative. Then, while lighting up a joint, Marks asks "who here is a dope (marijuana) smoker?", to even greater applause. The film then diverts into Marks' internal monologue as he recounts his life.
A Kitten For Hitler, 8minutes
Directed by Ken Russell
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Comedy
Themes Films about animals, Christmas films, Films about religion, Films about cats, Political films, Films about Jews and Judaism
Actors Rusty Goffe, Ken Russell
Roles Santa
Rating56% 2.8001152.8001152.8001152.8001152.800115
In 1941, a Jewish boy named Lenny is watching a newsreel at a theatre in Brooklyn with his mother when one featuring Adolf Hitler appears. The crowd boos. The child questions why no one likes him and wonders what Santa will give him for Christmas. His mother tells him that no one will get Hitler anything for Christmas. The boy travels to Germany to give Hitler a kitten for Christmas. Once he arrives, he presents the boxed gift to Hitler, who initially thinks it is a bomb, and throws it to Eva Braun. She opens it and gives the kitten to Hitler, who is apparently deeply moved. Hitler's mood changes when he discovers that the child is Jewish and has a swastika-shaped birthmark on his stomach. Hitler orders Eva to kill the child and make his skin into a lampshade, which the couple then have on their bedside table lamp. Following the war, the lamp is returned to the boy's mother who keeps it as a memento. When she touches it, it supernaturally lights up of its own accord and the swastika magically transforms into a Star of David. A miracle is proclaimed. The president awards the Purple Heart to the lampshade.
Colour Me Kubrick, 1h27
Directed by Brian W. Cook
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, Comedy, Comedy-drama
Themes Medical-themed films, L'usurpation d'identité, Films about psychiatry, Escroquerie
Actors John Malkovich, Marisa Berenson, Marc Warren, Jim Davidson, Richard E. Grant, Ken Russell
Roles The Man In Nightgown
Rating61% 3.0994853.0994853.0994853.0994853.099485
Colour Me Kubrick begins with a direct homage to A Clockwork Orange with the after-effects of one of Alan Conway's (Malkovich) minor cons: two thugs are sent to collect a bar bill that Conway has generated by impersonating Kubrick. Conway has provided the address of an elderly couple as Kubrick's home address. Conway is nowhere to be seen, and the thugs are arrested by the police for causing a ruckus outside the house.
Trapped Ashes, 1h45
Directed by Monte Hellman, Joe Dante, Sean S. Cunningham, Ken Russell
Origin USA
Genres Horror
Actors Jayce Bartok, Rachel Veltri, Richard Ian Cox, Henry Gibson, Lara Harris, Scott Lowell
Roles Dr. Lucy
Rating47% 2.3596252.3596252.3596252.3596252.359625
Segment The Girl With Golden Breasts (Réalisateur: Ken Russell) : Une jeune comédienne au chômage veut une poitrine plus généreuse afin d'obtenir plus de rôles. Le chirurgien qu'elle va voir lui vante les mérites de sa pratique : implanter des poitrines de femmes décédées (carrément moins dangereux que le silicone). Seule petit inconvénient, les sympathiques implants mammaires doivent être nourris au sang frais... Segment Jibaku (Réalisateur: Sean S. Cunningham): Ce segment donne dans le fantôme japonais. Invité au Japon pour donner une conférence, un architecte décide de venir avec sa femme. La jeune femme rencontre un revenant et tombe sous son l'emprise.
Brothers of the Head, 1h33
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, Comedy-drama, Musical
Actors Harry Treadaway, Luke Treadaway, Sean Harris, Tom Bower, Jonathan Pryce, Bryan Dick
Roles Himself
Rating63% 3.1986653.1986653.1986653.1986653.198665
In the early 1970s, the twins are essentially purchased by sleazy talent manager with plans to turn them into rock stars. The brothers form a punk rock band called the Bang Bang. As the band's success grows, a music journalist, Laura (Tania Emery), follows the band writing an article. A romantic relationship develops between Laura and Tom causing friction between the two brothers.
The Fall of the Louse of Usher: A Gothic Tale for the 21st Century, 1h25
Directed by Ken Russell
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Horror comedy, Horror
Themes Medical-themed films, Films about psychiatry, Comedy horror films, Films set in psychiatric hospitals
Actors Ken Russell
Roles Dr. Calahari
Rating51% 2.574742.574742.574742.574742.57474
Rock star Roddy Usher (played by James Johnston) is confined to an insane asylum after murdering his wife. During his time there he is given various shock treatments by Nurse Smith (Marie Findley) and Dr Calahari (Ken Russell), resulting in a series of bizarre and nightmarish adventures.
Whore
Whore (1991)
, 1h22
Directed by Ken Russell
Origin USA
Genres Drama
Themes Films about sexuality, Rape in fiction, Erotic films, Films about prostitution, Erotic thriller films
Actors Theresa Russell, Antonio Fargas, Jack Nance, Robert O'Reilly, Ginger Lynn, John Diehl
Roles Waiter
Rating56% 2.802162.802162.802162.802162.80216
Liz is a Los Angeles street prostitute. The audience first sees her attempting to get a customer on a busy downtown street near a tunnel. She addresses the audience directly on her life and problems throughout the film. When a van stops by, she gives it the brush off, recalling the last time she serviced a man in a van: it turned out there were several other men in the van, who gang-raped her and left her for dead. A passerby helps her to the hospital, and even pays her bill there. She sends him a thank you note.
The Russia House, 2h2
Directed by Fred Schepisi
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Thriller, Action, Spy, Romance
Themes Spy films, Political films
Actors Sean Connery, Michelle Pfeiffer, Roy Scheider, James Fox, John Mahoney, J. T. Walsh
Roles Walter
Rating61% 3.0508353.0508353.0508353.0508353.050835
Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair (Sean Connery), the head of a British publishing firm, is on a business trip to Moscow. He attends a writers' retreat near Peredelkino where he speaks of an inevitable New World Order and an end to tensions with the West. Attentively listening is a man called Dante (Goethe in the novel) (Klaus Maria Brandauer), who wants to be convinced that Barley means what he says. It transpires that Dante is in fact a renowned physicist who has secretly written a manuscript detailing the Soviet Union's nuclear missile capabilities.
The Lair of the White Worm, 1h33
Directed by Ken Russell
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Thriller, Comedy, Horror comedy, Horror
Themes Vampires in film, Comedy horror films
Actors Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Amanda Donohoe, Peter Capaldi, Sammi Davis, Stratford Johns
Roles Police Radio (voice)
Rating58% 2.949912.949912.949912.949912.94991
Angus Flint (Peter Capaldi), a Scottish archaeology student excavating the site of a convent at the Derbyshire bed and breakfast run by the Trent sisters, Mary (Sammi Davis) and Eve (Catherine Oxenberg), unearths an unusual skull which appears to be that of a large snake. He tries to find the local legend of the d'Ampton "worm", a mythical snake slain in Stonerich Cavern by John d'Ampton, the ancestor of current Lord of the Manor, James d'Ampton (Hugh Grant).
Salome's Last Dance, 1h27
Directed by Ken Russell
Genres Drama, Comedy
Themes Films about sexuality, LGBT-related films, LGBT-related films, LGBT-related film
Actors Glenda Jackson, Stratford Johns, Ken Russell, Nickolas Grace, Douglas Hodge, Denis Lill
Roles Cappadocian / Kenneth
Rating66% 3.345993.345993.345993.345993.34599
In the play, all the roles are played by prostitutes or their clients, and each actor (except Grace) plays two roles, one in the brothel and the other in the play. King Herod (Stratford Johns) begs his young stepdaughter Salome (Imogen Millais-Scott) to dance for him, promising to give her anything she desires, much to the irritation of her mother, Herodias (Glenda Jackson). Salome ignores him, choosing instead to try and seduce John the Baptist, who is Herod's prisoner. John responds by loudly condemning both Herod and Salome in the name of God. A spurned and vengeful Salome then agrees to dance for Herod — on the condition that she be given anything she asks for. Herod agrees, but it is only after the dance is over that Salome asks for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod is appalled, tries to dissuade her, but finally gives in to her request. The scenes from the play are interwoven with images of Wilde's exploits at the brothel.
Gothic
Gothic (1986)
, 1h28
Directed by Ken Russell
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, Thriller, Fantasy, Horror
Themes Films about writers, Films about computing, Films based on science fiction novels, Frankenstein films, Ghost films, Cyberpunk films
Actors Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango
Roles Tourist
Rating58% 2.900622.900622.900622.900622.90062
Through her stepsister Claire Clairmont (Miriam Cyr), Mary Godwin (Natasha Richardson) and her future husband Percy Shelley (Julian Sands) came to know Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne). During the summer of 1816, Lord Byron invited them to stay for a while at Villa Diodati in Switzerland. There they met Byron's physician friend, Dr. John Polidori (Timothy Spall). On June 16th, while a storm raged outside, the five of them amused themselves by telling ghost stories and revealing private skeletons. From Mary's previous experience of miscarriage came the desire to raise her child from the dead, which led to the creation of the Frankenstein monster. From Polidori's homosexuality, suicidal thoughts, and fascination with vampires came the story "The Vampyre".
Tommy
Tommy (1975)
, 1h51
Directed by Ken Russell
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, Musical theatre, Fantasy, Musical
Themes Medical-themed films, Films about music and musicians, Musical films, Films about disabilities, La cécité
Actors Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Elton John, Tina Turner, Paul Nicholas
Roles Cripple
Rating65% 3.2998053.2998053.2998053.2998053.299805
(Note: This narrative is given song by song. For formal song playlist and list of song credits, see Tommy (soundtrack).)
Savage Messiah, 1h43
Directed by Ken Russell
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, Biography
Themes Peinture, Sculpture
Actors Dorothy Tutin, Helen Mirren, Lindsay Kemp, Michael Gough, John Justin, Aubrey Richards
Roles Passenger getting off train in station (uncredited)
Rating71% 3.5911353.5911353.5911353.5911353.591135
La vie du sculpteur français Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Director

A Kitten For Hitler, 8minutes
Directed by Ken Russell
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Comedy
Themes Films about animals, Christmas films, Films about religion, Films about cats, Political films, Films about Jews and Judaism
Actors Rusty Goffe, Ken Russell
Rating56% 2.8001152.8001152.8001152.8001152.800115
In 1941, a Jewish boy named Lenny is watching a newsreel at a theatre in Brooklyn with his mother when one featuring Adolf Hitler appears. The crowd boos. The child questions why no one likes him and wonders what Santa will give him for Christmas. His mother tells him that no one will get Hitler anything for Christmas. The boy travels to Germany to give Hitler a kitten for Christmas. Once he arrives, he presents the boxed gift to Hitler, who initially thinks it is a bomb, and throws it to Eva Braun. She opens it and gives the kitten to Hitler, who is apparently deeply moved. Hitler's mood changes when he discovers that the child is Jewish and has a swastika-shaped birthmark on his stomach. Hitler orders Eva to kill the child and make his skin into a lampshade, which the couple then have on their bedside table lamp. Following the war, the lamp is returned to the boy's mother who keeps it as a memento. When she touches it, it supernaturally lights up of its own accord and the swastika magically transforms into a Star of David. A miracle is proclaimed. The president awards the Purple Heart to the lampshade.