movie film review | chris tookey
harsh reviews
An A to Z of the World's Deadliest Movie Reviews From Affleck
to Zeta Jones
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Ken Russell
Writer, Director, Actor, The Secret Life of Arnold Bax (1992)
Ken Russell casts himself in the title role of his own film, The Secret Life of Arnold Bax, and gives a portrayal so dire that I suspect he may have had to perform sexual favours for himself on the casting couch in order to get the part.
(Victor Lewis-Smith)
Writer, Director, The Devils (1970)
As if the story weren't bizarre enough, Russell has spared nothing in hyping the historic events by stressing the grisly at the expense of dramatic unity.
Russell's swirling multi-colored puddle… made me glad that both Huxley and Whiting are dead, so that they are spared this farrago of witless exhibitionism.
(Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic)
A garish glossary of sado-masochism… a taste for visual sensation that makes scene after scene look like the masturbatory fantasies of a Roman Catholic boyhood.
(Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
Russell's film takes a quantum leap from his abominable The Music Lovers into a dung heap. I shall refrain from saying more because, not having a degree in sanitary engineering, I don't know how to review a cesspool.
(John Simon, New Leader)
Ken Russell doesn't report hysteria, he markets it.
(Pauline Kael, New Yorker)
Writer, Director, Mahler (1974)
Whether the title of the opus happens to be Strauss or Tchaikowsky or Elgar or Brubeck, the real title is always Russell.
(Benny Green, Punch)
Vulgarity so self-confident, so unrepentant wins a kind of horrified respect. Ken Russell stands on his own, a mixture, at once frightening and preposterous, of Benjamin Robert Haydon, Hieronymus Bosch and the propaganda-poster artists of the Third Reich.
(Dilys Powell, Sunday Times)
Collectors of supreme cinematic monstrosities had better keep a sharp look-out for Ken Russell's latest. The film is in such demented and rotten taste that I do not wish to waste much space on it.
(John Simon, Esquire)
Made for a class of rowdy boys who must be kept attentive by sequences of rampant fantasy and rankest vulgarity.
(Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
Exuberant but supremely vulgar. If there's ever a Society For The Preservation of Famous People's Reputations, Russell's in for a lot of trouble.
(Steven H. Scheuer)
Writer, Director, Actor, Whore (1991)
Ken Russell's stylised, straight-at-camera presentation is even more hectoring than usual. His glossy primary colours clash with the seediness of the subject-matter, giving it a strip-cartoon feeling, made even more crass by execrable dialogue, cardboard characters and situations which are crudely introduced and ineptly staged. Ken Russell himself plays a waiter with grotesque incompetence.
(Chris Tookey, Sunday Telegraph)
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