Thursday, 9 September 2010

Lisztomanic Depression

I first watched Ken Russell's 'Lisztomania!' (1975) about twenty years ago. I thought then that it was one of the worst films I'd ever seen.

A few weeks ago, I got the chance to watch it again and, yes, it was just as rotten as I remembered. The film fails on every single level: as a biopic it is risible; as avant garde it operates at the level of pantomime. The performances are incredibly awful, the direction embarrassing, the music simply terrible.

If anything, it's actually crappier than Russell's other 70's atrocity 'Savage Messiah', and that had Lindsay Kemp in it.

Anyway, I've now watched it twice, thereby throwing away three hours of my life on this tripe; the least you can do is watch this clip and wonder how the cinematic dream team of Ken 'Rubbish' Russell, Roger 'Wooden' Daltrey & Paul 'Reggae Like It Used To Be' Nicholas could have got it all so very, very wrong wrong...

Oh, by the way, this clip makes the film appear 1,000% better than it actually is.


Reimer said...

Looks ace!! Any chance of a 'Messiah' clip?

SpeckledWood said...

I just came across a clip of this at the Cinémathèque française's museum a couple of days ago. The Ringo Starr Pope costume seems to be one of their prized possessions nestling between Louise Brooks' jewellery and one of Mae West's costumes. The Pope costume is actually pretty splendid and looking at it I had a mild surge of optimism that the film might not be one of those Russell train wrecks after all. Perhaps not.

Russell is a brilliant talent but something went very, very wrong in the seventies. Watching Tommy at the impressionable age of 14 probably ranks as the most ghastly cinematic experience I've ever had.