The film director Ken Russell died over the weekend at the age of 84. His death in the UK has been rather upstaged by the death of a footballer. Events in and around football sadly have the ability to upstage other news events - they are frequently given far more prominence than they deserve. Whilst the footballer was a talented and, by all accounts, good man who died young in what sadly would appear to be a rather desperate state of mind, his lasting legacy will be little compared to that of Ken Russell.
Ken Russell made difficult films. Sometimes very difficult films. They would thoroughly test the viewers' patience - woebetide those who ventured into a cinema not knowing they were about to be visually assaulted. His films could be beautiful but they could equally be graphically shocking but whatever they did, they would almost always leave an impression. His most commercially successful films were probably Women in Love, The Boyfriend and Tommy.
In interview, his opinions were always forthright, unpredictable but always imaginative and with a hint of mischief. But he always delivered those opinions with a charm and a wit and a twinkle in his eye. You could not dislike Ken Russell even if you hated his work, and trust me, many people did. He was invariably more watchable than many of his films.
I remember him being interviewed on TV when he must have been well into his seventies. Dressed colourfully, the way no portly septugenarian would normally be, with his trademark shock of white hair, he ranged over numerous topics. It was apparent he was completely unshockable and still felt he had plenty more to deliver if only he could get the finance together and be allowed to realise another piece of outrageous but possibly impenetrable cinema.
He was talented and original and a true eccentric but you know what - I can't think of a single one of his films I particularly like but I what I do know is that nobody will make films like them ever again.
This is a nice tribute...