Late on Guy Fawkes Day, 1892, Oscar Wilde arrives at a high-class brothel where a surprise awaits: a staging of his play “Salome,” with parts played by prostitutes, Wilde’s host, his lover Bosey, and Lady Alice. The movie moves between the play and Wilde’s night. In the play, Herod begs his pubescent step-daughter Salome to dance for him, promising her anything she desires. Her mother, Herodias, objects. Salome is stung by John the Baptist’s rejection of her affections. The prophet’s scolding celibacy puts him between the expressed desire of age and youth. Wilde dallies with a young man as he watches the show, provoking Bosey’s jealousy. Two surprises await us. –IMDb
British director Ken Russell started out training for a naval career, but after wartime RAF and merchant navy service he switched goals and went into ballet. Supplementing his dancing income as an actor and still photographer, Russell put together a handful of amateur films in the 50s before being hired as a staff director by the BBC. Russell made a name for himself (albeit a name not always spoken in reverence) during the first half of the ‘60s by directing a series of iconoclastic TV dramatizations of the lives of famous composers and dancers. And if he felt that the facts were getting in the way of his story, he’d make up his own — frequently bordering on the libelous. If he had any respect for the famous persons whose lives he probed, it was secondary to his fascination with revealing all warts and open wounds.
A film director since 1963, Russell burst into the international consciousness with 1969’s Women in Love, a hothouse version of the D.H. Lawrence novel. No director… read more
“Salome’s Last Dance” by Ken Russell (based on play by Oscar Wilde) depicts a predatory (possessive) personal love as a phenomenon typical for many people in all social strata in various historical epochs. By comparing the existential atmosphere in Ancient Judea under the Roman domination with the European modernity of the end of 19th century and the European post-WW2 democratic renaissance Russell creates a universal picture of predatory love in its social and psychological aspects. “Salome’s Last Dance” is a comparative analysis of amorous encounter between two human beings as a fight for domination when even sexual desire becomes the instrument in this fight and even dependent position in love relations is used as a leverage to tie up and control another person. Russell makes Oscar Wilde a character inside his film, in order to, it seems, open an additional historical perspective, scholarly relativize Wilde’s play, and dramatize human personal encounter with historical forces. The director’s elaborate classification of the types of possessive love (all of them internalize and utilize the experience of social competitive fights as its pseudo-amorous code) that is quite applicable to our life in the 21st century is a serious achievement of this film. Burlesque and tragedy mixed up on the screen, as it happens in life, defeating human imagination and moral idealism. The acting is in the best tradition of English theater when actors not only articulate the characters’ emotions before the viewers but demonstrate their psychological roots. Glenda Jackson (Herodias and Lady Alice) and Stratford Johns (Herod and Alfred Taylor, the brothel keeper) gave in this film the sharpest performance of their long creative careers. Their mimic and intonational versatility is unique and memorable. Russell’s interesting analysis of the psychological peculiarities of homosexual love (based on love affair between Oscar Wilde and Lord Douglas/Bosie) is a part of his classification of types of personal love. Please, visit: www.actingoutpolitics.com to read about Ken Russell’s film (with analysis of the stills from the film), and essays about the films by Godard, Resnais, Bergman, Bunuel, Kurosawa, Bresson, Pasolini, Antonioni, Fassbinder, Cavani, Alain Tanner, Bertolucci, Werner Herzog, Maurice Pialat, Jerzy Skolimowski, Wim Wenders, Rossellini, Moshe Mizrahi and Robert Neame. By Victor Enyutin
Can anyone who owns the American DVD please tell me what aspect ratio this is in? I just got the Italian version and it's 1.33:1, but I can't tell if it's open matte or pan and scan. A screenshot may help too. Thanks!