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Class of 88: Drive-In Dust Offs: The Lair Of The White Worm (1988)

When one thinks of filmmaker Ken Russell, one thinks “excessive”, “lurid”, and “over the top”. But there’s an honest to God beauty in the profane as seen through his eyes. Simply put, you can choose to experience a Russell film or ignore it, but they will always live on as messy, indulgent, yet heartfelt works. Personally, these are a few of my favorite things; and when Russell directed his flights of ripened fancy towards a piece of horror, the results could be spectacular like The Lair of the White Worm (1988), a hilarious and ribald tribute to Hammer, Aip, and Amicus.

Released just in time for Halloween in the U.S. by Vestron Pictures, Lair brought in less than its $2.5 million budget at the box office and the reviews were mixed. This was really nothing new for Russell, who by this point in the game was either revered or reviled
See full article at DailyDead »

Notting Hill Star Emma Chambers’ Death at 53 May Have Been a Heart Attack

Notting Hill Star Emma Chambers’ Death at 53 May Have Been a Heart Attack
Notting Hill star Emma Chambers died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 53, says BBC executive Producer Jon Plowman.

Plowman told UK’s Radio 4: “It’s no age to have a heart attack, as I understand it.”

Chamber’s agent John Grant confirmed the actress’ death on Saturday, claiming natural causes.

“We are very sad to announce the untimely death, from natural causes, of the acclaimed actress Emma Chambers,” Grant told Entertainment Weekly. “Over the years, Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work. She brought laughter and joy to many, and will be greatly missed.
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Notting Hill Star Emma Chambers Dead at 53

Notting Hill Star Emma Chambers Dead at 53
Actress Emma Chambers, who starred in the 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill alongside Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, has died at the age of 53.

“We are very sad to announce the untimely death, from natural causes, of the acclaimed actress Emma Chambers,” agent John Grant said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.

“Over the years, Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work,” Grant continued. “She brought laughter and joy to many, and will be greatly missed. At this difficult time we ask that the privacy of the family and loved ones be respected.”

Chambers played the
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Notting Hill Star Emma Chambers Dead at 53

Notting Hill Star Emma Chambers Dead at 53
Actress Emma Chambers, who starred in the 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill alongside Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, has died at the age of 53.

“We are very sad to announce the untimely death, from natural causes, of the acclaimed actress Emma Chambers,” agent John Grant said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.

“Over the years, Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work,” Grant continued. “She brought laughter and joy to many, and will be greatly missed. At this difficult time we ask that the privacy of the family and loved ones be respected.”

Chambers played the
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

'Notting Hill' actress Emma Chambers dies aged 53

'Notting Hill' actress Emma Chambers dies aged 53
“She brought laughter and joy to many, and will be greatly missed.

Actress Emma Chambers, best known for Notting Hill and The Vicar Of Dibley, has died aged 53, her agent has confirmed.

According to a statement she died of natural causes on Wednesday evening.

Her agent John Grant said: “We are very sad to announce the untimely death, from natural causes, of the acclaimed actress Emma Chambers.

“Over the years, Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work.

“She brought laughter and joy to many, and will be greatly missed.

“At this difficult time we ask that the privacy of the family and loved ones be respected.”

Our beautiful friend Emma Chambers has died at the age of 53. We’re very very sad. She was a great, great comedy performer, and a truly fine actress. And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being. pic.twitter.com/vLQcRcv2Ex

— emma
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Blu-ray Review – Mona Lisa (1986)

Mona Lisa, 1986.

Directed by Neil Jordan.

Starring Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, Michael Caine, Robbie Coltrane, Sammi Davis, Clarke Peters, Kate Hardie, Zoe Nathenson and Joe Brown.

Synopsis:

An ex-con just released from prison lands a job driving a call girl from job to job.

Arrow Films follow-up their excellent release of The Long Good Friday with Mona Lisa, the 1986 crime drama directed by Neil Jordan (The Company of Wolves) and starring the late, great Bob Hoskins. Hoskins plays George, a criminal released from prison and looking for a job. After going to see his ex-wife and daughter and being told where to go, George goes to see his former colleagues and is offered work driving high-class call girl Simone (Cathy Tyson – The Serpent & The Rainbow) from job to job. Sounds easy but George’s rough, wide-boy charm and Simone’s more elegant manner initially causes the two to clash, until
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Remembering Ken Russell

Dan Ireland offers his rememberance of “Uncle Ken.”

A benefit of having such an eclectic stable of gurus is that our well of experience and stories about working in the business — often with and for giants — is increasingly deep. A number of our gurus, then, have Ken Russell (who died this past weekend) stories. Bernard Rose shared such a story in 2008. And Dan Ireland remembers the man just below.

One of the great joys of my life was my wonderful association with the great, the brilliant, the bad boy of British Cinema himself, Uncle Ken Russell.

Being an early devotee of Women In Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils, The Boyfriend, Savage Messiah, Mahler, Tommy, Altered States, Crimes of Passion and just about anything he did, I once tried in vain to get him to attend a tribute that I, along with my partner Darryl Macdonald, organized at the Seattle
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Ken Russell obituary

Formidable film director with an impish sense of humour and a talent to entertain and provoke

Ken Russell, who has died aged 84, was so often called rude names – the wild man of British cinema, the apostle of excess, the oldest angry young man in the business – that he gave up denying it all quite early in his career. Indeed, he often seemed to court the very publicity that emphasised only the crudest assessment of his work. He gave the impression that he cared not a damn. Those who knew him better, however, knew that he did. Underneath all the showbiz bluster, he was an old softie. Or, perhaps as accurately, a talented boy who never quite grew up.

It has, of course, to be said that he was capable of almost any enormity in the careless rapture he brought to making his films. He could be dreadfully cruel to his undoubted talent,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ken Russell, flamboyant wild man of British cinema, dies aged 84

Oscar-nominated maverick found inspiration for his work in music and literature

After a film career full of wild drama, gaudy conflagrations and operatic flourishes, the director Ken Russell died quietly in hospital on Sunday afternoon at the age of 84, after suffering a series of strokes. – effecting a quiet, discreet exit from the comfort of his hospital bed. "My father died peacefully," said his son Alex Verney-Elliott. "He died with a smile on his face."

Known for his flamboyant, often outrageous brand of film-making, Russell made movies that juggled high and low culture with glee and invariably courted controversy. His 1969 breakthrough, the Oscar-winning Women in Love, electrified audiences with its infamous nude wrestling scene, while 1971's The Devils – a torrid brew of sex, violence and Catholicism – found itself banned across Italy and was initially rejected by its backer, Warner Bros. His other notable films include Altered States, The Boy Friend and Tommy,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ken Russell Has Left the Planet

Legendary British filmmaker Ken Russell, the notorious director famous for boundary-pushing films such as Women in Love, Altered States and The Devils, has died at 84 following a series of strokes.

For an artist who's been called an iconoclast, a maverick and a genius — one with a professed love for consciousness-altering drugs — Russell (born July 3, 1927) got his start in a fairly conventional manner. Following a stint in the service, Russell worked as a photojournalist to minor acclaim before going to work at the BBC as a director in 1959.

While at the BBC, Russell made a series of historical documentaries, still regarded as impressive for their impressionistic visual technique. This is the beginning of the flamboyant style that became synonymous with the name Ken Russell. Many of these television films focused on renowned composers, including Edward Elgar, Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy. Interestingly, this is subject matter Russell would return to often
See full article at Planet Fury »

Ken Russell: Sex, Hallucinogenics, Visual Flair Altered States, Crimes Of Passion

Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, Crimes of Passion Provocative, Controversial Director Ken Russell Dead at 84: Women In Love, Tommy, The Devils Valentino (1977) was another much-talked about biopic. (Perhaps not too surprisingly, decades later Ken Russell would write a positive commentary on a horrendously sensationalistic Valentino biography.) Reviews for the film starring Rudolf Nureyev as silent-film idol Rudolph Valentino were mostly negative. Audiences, for their part, opted instead for Stars Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Three years later, Russell went Hollywood with Altered States, a bizarre, philosophical, hallucinogenic sci-fier starring William Hurt as a scientist who undergoes genetic regression. Written by Oscar winner Paddy Chayefsky, with whom Russell clashed on the set, the costly Warner Bros. release was a major box-office disappointment. Another Us-based effort, the Belle du Jour-like 1984 sex drama Crimes of Passion, earned Kathleen Turner a Best Actress Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Director Ken Russell, R.I.P. In the '70s, he was the high-trash king of purple passion

Director Ken Russell, R.I.P. In the '70s, he was the high-trash king of purple passion
The first review I ever wrote — God help me — was of a movie directed by Ken Russell, the high-trash visionary of over-the-top British psychodrama who died Sunday at 84. It was 1975, the fall of my senior year in high school, and my friends and I had gone to the opening night show of Tommy, the deluxe, star-packed big-screen version of the Who’s rock opera. (Elton John as the Pinball Wizard! Tina Turner as the Acid Queen! Ann-Margret writhing in beans and suds! Jack Nicholson leering!) I thought parts of the movie were amazing, but it had a certain jaw-dropping vulgar psychedelic shamelessness that,
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

R.I.P. Ken Russell

Following a series of strokes, British film director Ken Russell died on Sunday at the age of 84. Russell was famed for being experimental and flamboyant with his films which had heavily sexual overtones and often rebelled against the otherwise rigid and subdued tone used by other famed British filmmakers. It earned him the nickname 'The Fellini of the North'.

Russell first came to notice with 1967's "Billion Dollar Brain", the third film in the Michael Caine-led Harry Palmer spy drama series based on Len Deighton's books. Two years later he directed his signature film - an adaptation of Dh Lawrence's "Women In Love".

'Women' scored numerous Oscar nominations and featured the now infamous nude wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates that broke the taboo of full frontal male nudity on camera in a mainstream film.

That lead to numerous films in the 1970's that have since become infamous.
See full article at Dark Horizons »

R.I.P. Ken Russell (1927-2011)

Flamboyant British filmmaker Ken Russell has passed away in his sleep on Sunday evening, aged 84. Born in Southampton in 1927, Russell started his career in the industry as a photographer and independent documentary filmmaker after spells in the Merchant Navy and Royal Air Force. His attention turned to the small screen in 1959 when he secured a job at the BBC, where he produced a number of successful documentaries including Elgar (1962), Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World (1967) and Song of Summer (1968), which he later described as the best film of his career. He also began to try his hand at feature films, making his debut in 1963 with the comedy French Dressing and directing Billion Dollar Brain (1967) before his major breakthrough, the D.H. Lawrence adaptation Women in Love (1969). The film proved revolutionary due to a nude wrestling scene featuring stars Oliver Reed and Alan Bates, and it also earned a host of accolades,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

A tribute to the work of Ken Russell

Following the sad death of director Ken Russell yesterday, James looks back at his sometimes stunning body of work...

While his best years were clearly long behind him, the passing of director Ken Russell, one of the undoubted titans of post-war British cinema, still feels like a huge loss for the world of film. Contrarian, provocateur and a lover of excess in all its forms, Russell was a filmmaker whose work was rarely restrained, seldom safe and almost always memorable, although not necessarily for the right reasons.

Despite a childhood desire to be a ballet dancer, it was as a photographer that Russell initially made his name, and it was through this route that he secured a job in 1959 within the BBC.

Working as an arts documentarian during the 1960s, Russell honed his craft, creating a series of artful, evocative films, mainly focusing on composers such as Debussy, Elgar and Strauss.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Obituary: Ken Russell

Obituary: Ken Russell
Ken Russell, who has died aged 84, was so often called rude names – the wild man of British cinema, the apostle of excess, the oldest angry young man in the business – that he gave up denying it all quite early in his career. Indeed, he often seemed to court the very publicity that emphasised only the crudest assessment of his work. He gave the impression that he cared not a damn. Those who knew him better, however, knew that he did. Underneath all the showbiz bluster, he was an old softie. Or, perhaps as accurately, a talented boy who never quite grew up.

It has, of course, to be said that he was capable of almost any enormity in the careless rapture he brought to making his films. He could be dreadfully cruel to his undoubted talent,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ken Russell dies aged 84

Ken Russell, the veteran director of Women in Love, The Devils and Tommy, has died at the age of 84

Ken Russell: a career in photos

Ken Russell, the director behind the Oscar-winning Women in Love has died aged 84. Russell died on Sunday in his sleep, according to his friend, the arts writer Norman Lebrecht.

Known for a flamboyant style developed during his early career in television, Russell's films mixed high and low culture with rare deftness and often courted high controversy. The Devils … a religious drama that featured an infamous scene between Oliver Reed and Venessa Redgrave sexualising the crucifixion – was initially rejected by Warner Brothers. It will be released in its entirety in March next year, 42 years after it was made, when it will form part of the British Board of Film Classification's centenary celebrations.

Women in Love, released in 1969, became notorious for its nude male wrestling scene
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Priest Of Love Blu-ray Review

Featuring Ian McKellen in his first starring role, 1981's Priest of Love explores the latter years of novelist D.H. Lawrence, picking up his story in 1914. The film, directed by Christopher Miles and adapted by Alan Plater from a biography by Harry T. Moore and the letters and writings of Lawrence, moves quickly, establishing that the writer married a German woman, flitting ahead a year later to the public burning of his book The Rainbow for alleged obscenity, and then settling for a while in 1924, as he moves to the United States. It feels like being tossed into the deep end of a man's soul, but McKellen proves to be a solid anchor. The actor, 41 at the time, had many years of...
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Top 100 movies of the 1970s

Michael York dashes onto the cinematic scene as the blundering but very enthusiastic D'Artagnan in Richard Lester's hugely enjoyable period comic romp. The late great Roy Kinnear is the long-suffering vassal of aristocratic swordsmen Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain and Frank Finlay, whilst Raquel Welch and Faye Dunaway shine as heroine and villainess, respectively. Producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind filmed the following year's sequel back-to-back with this more successful first part, which approach they would revisit shortly for Superman and Superman II. Dumas with wit, energy and integrity.

Notable Quotable: "That man in his time has insulted me, broken my father's sword, had me clubbed to the ground, laid violent hands on the woman I love! He is inconvenient. "

Martin Anderson

Mike Nichols and Buck Henry achieve what seemed impossible, at least on the evidence of an earlier attempt: to transliterate the pitch-dark war humour of Joseph Heller into a cohesive,
See full article at Shadowlocked »

New Release: Ian McKellen in Priest of Love Blu-ray and DVD

Kino Lorber will release the 1981 biographical film drama Priest of Love starring Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings) as famed author D.H. Lawrence on Blu-ray and DVD on June 21.

Ian McKellen (ctr.) and Janet Suzman are D.H. and Frieda Lawrence in Priest of Love.

Directed by Christopher Miles, the movie deals with the later years in the life of writer D.H. Lawrence (McKellen), his wife Frieda (Janet Suzman, Max) and their friend Dorothy Brett (Penelope Keith, TV’s To the Manor Born) after they have moved to the U.S. following the banning and burning of Lawrence’s latest novel, The Rainbow. Staying at the home of wealthy art patron Mabel Dodge Luhan (Ava Gardner, Mogambo), in Taos, New Mexico, Lawrence ponders his life, literature and sexuality before contracting tuberculosis and returning to Europe, where he writes the work for which he is best remembered, Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
See full article at Disc Dish »
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