ofgallows humour iii such a portrayal also tips the scales into the realm ofthe
indefensible. But when Theresa disdainfully
talks ofthe ‘miles and miles ofcock' she’s seen in her time. it's both an easy latigli and an uncomfortable moment of truth.
Still. there are those who just don‘t get it. The persistently offended female audience member we encountered earlier has a bespectacled male pal determined to get his
tuppenceworth in. although for the moment.
Ken carries on regardless.
‘You see. your kind of film would be this otrt of focus. black and white. slightly off-centre thing with a really ugly woman mumbling so you can‘t hear.'
‘l‘m not some Brechtian film maker like that trying to scare people away from the cinema. I actually want people to see my films.‘
Cue the little man with the glasses. ‘1 think it degrades men as well as women .‘
Uncle Ken just looks at him. liyes glaze over and his jaw droops.
‘I think it degrades men as well as women.‘
‘ chirps the voice a second time.
The only reply is a sigh of resignation.
Whore opens at C(‘Is across Scotland on Fri 26 July.
There is one unforgiveably prurient passage set in a gents’ toilet that provides furtherevidence for the prosecutionthaf Russell is just a
opportunistwith an eye forthe video rental charts.
‘The talent is clearly there. but somehow it is an appalling talent“ was critic Alexander Walker‘sfamous 1971 assessment ofthe work of Ken Russell. The eternal enfanf terrible of the British screen infurn responded to the compliment in a memorable televised encounter by beating Walker over the head with a rolled-up newspaper. Born in Southampton in 1927. the former merchant seaman. actorand ballet dancer (t). had first come tofhe nation‘s attention with his ground breaking series of freestyle films on a number of famous composers made for the BBC television arts programme Monitor throughout the 60s. Eschewing all the usual docudrama conventions to create a visual equivalent of the romantic expressiveness of the music from Debussy to Delius to Richard Strauss. the Russell ego and elan was made for the cinema screen. and from his earliest movie outings (including Michael Caine's third Harry Palmerthriller.1967's Billion Dollar8rain) sheerbloody-minded. rampantly provocative excess has been Ken‘s keynote to delight his followers and dismay the many. many detractors.
I Women in Love (1969) t). tt. Lawrence brought faithfully and rather scrisitiyely to the screen in w hat's still one of Rtissell‘s best films. Bttt what about that wrestling scene with ()liy er Reed and Alan Bates'.’ Oh dear. they don't haye any clotheson. Pass the opera glasses. please.
I The Music Lovers (1971) “the story ot'a homosexual and a riy niphomariiael' screamed the posters. from which ey'eryone was supposed to guess that the film was. of course. a Russellian biopicof 'l chaikoy'sky. (ilcnda Jackson roriips notably in a railway carriage.
I The Devils (1971) (‘atholic dcliritnii a go-goas the (‘hurcli's special agent()liy-er Reed is sent in to sort otit Vanessa Rcdgt‘m c and her coriy'ent of possessed nuns .-\midst the bursting bubocs. graphic tortttre scenes and poor ( )Ilie burned at the stake before our ycry eyeslyou'll beliey c a titan can try ). what scared the censor most w as a dream sequence where the good sisters gang bang ()ur Sayiouriii a \ eritalilc maelstrom of hcayirig flesh. Snip went the scissors. and otrt went
scy eral minutes ney‘et' to be seen again.
I Mahler (1974) Robert l’ow ell is fine as (iustay .\t.. music‘s great btit hey? dig that grooyy Marx Brothers gag? And why is ('osima Wagner surrounded by Nazi stormti'oopers‘.’
ITommy(1975) (‘elebrated turkey probably best known for the decades tiiost exaggerated set of platform soles as lilton .loltn croons ‘l’iriball Wizard‘. Roger l)altrcy plays the deaf. duriib and blind kid w ho can't act too w ell either. Still. a nice line in Marilyn Monroe iconography. and dear. dear. Keith Moon isa laff astlie pery'y uncle.
I Lisztomania (1975) \a/i rallies. a ten-foot phallus. y ampirisni. and that's rust the understated moments in this downright incredible retelling ofthc composer 's life in terms of pop stardom. (let this for casting: Roger l)altrcy IS lirariz Liszt. Ringo Starr IS The Pope. Paul Nicholas 15 Richard Wagner. Produced by Day id l’uttnam l 3). Music by Rick \Vakeman l l ).
I Altered States (1980) liritertaining mad doctor flick w itli pretensions reads like a warning to all those new age types. l’rof William Hurt stocks tip on the rare .\tc.\‘tcan mushrooms. hops into the sensory tlepriy ation tank and shazamf. turns into a licapol pririiordialsludge.
liAN itPPriumc TALENT ‘ ‘ “1
()rigirial director Arthur l’enn gay e tip. so ' they sent for our Ken. w ho piles on the heayy trip sequences with gleeful
abandon. Respected screenwriter Paddy ('liayeysky was so appalled he put his real name. Sidney .-\ar on. on the screenplay credit.
I Crimes of Passion (1985) Kathleen Turner gets stuck into Barry Sandlcr's darkly comic story of a career woman w ho ' doubles at night as hooker (‘liina Blue. acting out all manner of fantasies for her tricks and herself. \Vatcli otit for the notorious ‘liidc the truncheori' sequence with the leather-clad off-duty cop. l’lus Anthony Perkins as a loony priest dispatched by a killer dildo. Plus the unforgettable l luman l’enis. 'l'liis has been a Keri Russell production.
I Gothic (1986) (iabriel Byrrie..luliari Sands and Natasha Richardson aka Byron and the Shelley's. get together in their
Sw iss pad to conjure tip all marinerot deeply uniriipressiy'c obsessional fantasies. Like. a woman's nipples spouting eyeballs . .'l ime to lay ofl'the wine gums. Ken.
I Salome‘s Last Dance (1988) Bring on the hooded dwarfs. it's Victorian erotica showtime. they put Oscar Wilde in prison tot'tess.
I The Lair of the White Worm (1989)
llammy spoot'on the l lariimer horrorsol yore. Amanda Donohoe relishes her role as a befangcd high priestess sor t.
proy idirig the big chortle moment w hcn
she choriips off an unfortunate boy scouts. " errii. ‘toggle' (’l t‘cy'ot‘lolittslon)