Depressive, emotionally insecure piano teacher Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky tortuously struggles to have his music accepted and tries to suppress his homosexuality. The support of a wealthy widow as a patron gives him the artistic support he needs but his choice of a nymphomaniac as a wife proves disastrous. –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
pauline kael once said she wanted to drive a stake through the heart of the director, the film was just that terrible. and sure, it's grand guignol and not historically accurate but i'd venture to say it captures the spirit of tchaikovsky's wildly romantic music nearly perfectly
The one film, Rusell's exuberance aside I'd say is his most prestigious work. It's also one of the meanest films I've ever seen. The tortured artist trope has been used dozens of times but the contrasts between fairy tale highs and and mentally ill lows has never been more abrupt, Russell's later composer biopics would somewhat lose sight of the artists work but here art and reality juxtapose in a dizzying fashion.
Pitched as "the story of a homosexual who falls in love with a nymphomaniac", the flamboyant Ken Russell's fictionalised biopic of Tchaikovsky is visually arresting and deliciously over-the-top. Before he became the King of the Mini-Series, Chamberlain had a handful of leading roles and his portrayal of the tortured composer is one of his best. Alongside him, Jackson impresses as his passionate and neurotic wife.....