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Film director Ken Russell dead at 84

I first discovered Russell with Women In Love in 1969, his marvelous adaptation of the D.H.Lawrence novel which also brought actors Alan Bates and Oliver Reed to fame with a nude wrestling scene.

My favorite of Russell’s films was The Music Lovers  his  experimental biography of Tchaikovsky, which led to other biographies of Liszt, Mahler and French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

In the 1980s, Russell’s directing hit the skids and he was unable to get a production with a successful review and he turned to working for British television with short biographies. He also directed plays, at least one, Mindgame, off-Broadway in 2008.

Probably the greatest of Russell’s contributions to the film medium was to show that reality was not the only answer. He influenced many younger directors (I think Terry Gilliam is a good example.)

In a comment on his career, Russell said:

“I believe in what I’m doing wholeheartedly, passionately, and what’s more, I simply go about my business. I suppose such a thing can be annoying to some people.”

Just for You Steampunk Fans…

… here’s another preview clip from “1884”, the forthcoming film by Tim Ollive and Dennis De Groot that is being produced by Terry Gilliam:


1884… here’s a film I’m really looking forward to.

Terry Gilliam

Here’s a piece from Film Industry News by Mike Stringer (which I picked up at Movies I Didn’t Get). Terry Gilliam, filmmaker, animator and former Python, is producing this view of the Future as seen by the past… in Victorian Steampunk style.

clipped from

Terry Gilliam’s Latest Project Takes Him Back To 1884

Variety has reported that visual effects artist Tim Ollive will direct the new mixed-media adventure movie called 1884, with Terry Gilliam serving as both producer and creative adviser. The project will cost an estimated $8 million.
1884 which has been described as an animated steampunk parody based on George Orwell’s 1984, with former pythons lending their voice talents to the project, whereas Gilliam will be credited only as creative adviser. 


Tim Ollive wrote the screenplay with Dennis de Groot. Both men have worked with Gilliam in the past. Tim Ollive is an animator, artist and visual FX man who’s actually worked on every one of Gilliam’s movies since Life Of Brian (1979).
Gilliam has said that, “The quality of the work is amazing. It’s not slick and sleek CGI work such as studios in LA produce. It looks as if it’s been crafted by an artisan and the scale and design are spectacular.”
blog it

And here’s the Promotional Trailer from 1884:

John Cleese on Creativity…

Yes, it is a lecture… but it is entertaining and you will learn from it (especially if you are a writer, designer or any kind of creative person.)

(thanks to the StevenHartSite for putting me onto this.)

Is Terry Gilliam’s Masterpiece Coming in December?

When Heath Ledger died last year, he hadn’t finished making Terry Gilliam’s film “The Imaginarium of Dr, Parnassus” leaving Gilliam with an incomplete project and a dead schedule.

Gilliam revealed Ledger improvised “half” of his comedic dialogue on set. “I really felt ‘We got a tiger by the tail here! I thought here’s somebody with the kind of energy I had when I was young.” When Ledger died in the midst of production, the role was recast to have Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell portray “physically transformed versions” of the character.

And Tom Waits plays the Devil!

Here’s a trailer: