×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Music Lovers

There is frequently, but not always, a thin line between genius and madness. By going over that line and unduly emphasizing the mad and the perverse in their biopic of the 19th-century Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, producer-director Ken Russell and scripter Melvyn Bragg lose their audience. The result is a motion picture that is frequently dramatically and visually stunning but more often tedious and grotesque.

With:
Richard Chamberlain Glenda Jackson Max Adrian Christopher Gable Izabella Telezynska Kenneth Colley

There is frequently, but not always, a thin line between genius and madness. By going over that line and unduly emphasizing the mad and the perverse in their biopic of the 19th-century Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, producer-director Ken Russell and scripter Melvyn Bragg lose their audience. The result is a motion picture that is frequently dramatically and visually stunning but more often tedious and grotesque.

Richard Chamberlain, bushy-bearded and eyes constantly brimming with tears, plays the homosexual, irrationally romantic composer, and Glenda Jackson the neurotic trollop he tragically marries. Their performances are more dramatically bombastic than sympathetic, or sometimes even believable.

Instead of a Russian tragedy, Russell seems more concerned with haunting the viewers’ memory with shocking scenes and images. The opportunity to create a memorable and fluid portrait of the composer has been sacrificed for a musical Grand Guignol.

Christopher Gable plays Count Anton Chiluvsky, presumably Chamberlain’s true love, as a faun-eyed social butterfly; Izabella Telezynska is the composer’s patroness, a wealthy middle-aged widow who loves him but whose own romantic fantasies demand that they never meet but merely correspond by letter, although he lives in luxury on her estate.

The Music Lovers

UK

Production: United Artists. Director Ken Russell; Producer Ken Russell; Screenplay Melvyn Bragg; Camera Douglas Slocombe; Editor Michael Bradsell; Music Andre Previn (dir.); Art Director Natasha Kroll

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 122 MIN.

With: Richard Chamberlain Glenda Jackson Max Adrian Christopher Gable Izabella Telezynska Kenneth Colley

More Film

  • European Union Placeholder

    European Parliament Gives Final Approval to Controversial Article 13 Copyright Directive

    The European Parliament on Tuesday gave final approval of Article 13, a controversial directive that shakes up the rules around copyright in the continent with ramifications for online platforms, content owners and creators, and the general public. The proposed new framework, now approved, has sparked widespread debate among the platforms, public, and content firms. The platforms, [...]

  • Fox Disney Layoffs

    Fox Studio Quickly Fades Away as Disney Starts Work on Integration

    In the waning days of 21st Century Fox, there was a run on the searchlight. As Disney neared the completion of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, employees on the Fox lot rushed into the studio’s gift shop to pick up mugs, shot glasses, sweatshirts, hats and T-shirts emblazoned with 20th Century Fox’s [...]

  • Small Theaters Struggle to Survive in

    Inside Indie Movie Theaters' Battle to Survive

    Nestled at the foot of a large hill on the edge of downtown Providence, R.I., Cable Car Cinema was known to local moviegoers as ”the one with the couches.” That was a charitable description. They were love seats, really — perfect if you were with a date but awkward if you went to see a [...]

  • Nadine Labaki

    Cannes: Nadine Labaki to Head Un Certain Regard Jury

    Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki has been named president of the jury for Un Certain Regard in Cannes. The Festival said Labaki had been chosen after “moving hearts and minds at the last Festival de Cannes with her Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated ‘Capernaum,’ which won the Jury Prize.” The organizers noted Labaki’s films have all [...]

  • Osmosis

    Netflix Unveils Four More French Originals, 'Gims,' 'Anelka,' 'Move,' 'Of Earth And Blood'

    As it prepares to open a fully-staffed office in France and ramp up its investment in local originals, Netflix has unveiled three new documentaries, “Move” (working title), “Gims” (working title), and “Anelka” (working title), and the feature film “Of Earth And Blood” while at Series Mania in Lille. Announced during a panel with Netflix’s commissioning [...]

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content