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Ken Russell - Interviews

Ken Russell


Edited by Barry Keith Grant
Series: Conversations with Filmmakers Series

Hardcover : 9781496851840, 222 pages, August 2024
Paperback : 9781496851833, 222 pages, August 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-08-15
Expected to ship: 2024-08-15

Table of contents

Shock Treatment
Gordon Gow / 1970
An Interview with Ken Russell
Gene D. Phillips / 1970
Interview with Ken Russell
Max Tessier / 1971
Conversation with Ken Russell
Terry Curtis Fox / 1973
Ken Russell Faces the Music
Patrick McGilligan and Janet Maslin / 1974
André Previn Meets Ken Russell
André Previn / 1974
Fact, Fantasy, and the Films of Ken Russell
Gene D. Phillips / 1976
The Gospel aAccording to Russell
Marjorie Bilbow / 1976
With Ken Russell on the Set of Valentino
Herb A. Lightman / 1977
Ken Russell: An Interview
Ric Gentry / 1981
Ken Russell: Looking into Madness
Graham Fuller / 1987
Images of Reality
Anthony Clare / 1988
Ken Russell’s Best Laid Planaria: Wormomania
Karen Jaehne / 1988
Next of Ken
Graham Fuller / 1989
Morning, Mr. Grumpy!
Lola Borg / 1989
The Impossible Romantic
Lynn Barber / 1991
Ken Russell: The Victorian Dreamer
George Hickenlooper / 1991
God and Monsters
Sally Vincent / 1999
Savage Messiah: An Interview with Ken Russell
Nik Huggins / 2002
Old Devil: Stephen Armstrong Finds Ken Russell Back among His Muses
Stephen Armstrong / 2005
Elgar’s Ear: A Conversation with Ken Russell
John C. Tibbetts / 2005
Ken Russell Interview: The Last Fires of Film’s Old Devil
Stuart Jeffries / 2011

Collected interviews with the unconventional British filmmaker discussing his colorful life and career in movies and television


In the 1970s, British filmmaker Ken Russell (1927–2011) quickly gained a reputation as the enfant terrible of British cinema. His work, like the man himself, was regarded as flamboyant, excessive, and unrestrained. Inheriting and yet subverting the venerable mantle of British documentary, Russell did not fit comfortably in the context of a national cinema dominated by sober realism. His distinct style combined realism with fictional devices, often in audacious ways, to create the biographical “docudrama.” In Ken Russell: Interviews, the filmmaker discusses his colorful life and career, from his youth fascinated by movies to his early work in television through his feature films and his retreat to home movies.

Russell first drew notice in the early 1960s for a series of unorthodox biographical films about artists and composers. In these early television films, Russell was already exhibiting an unconventional approach to biography that combined historical fact, aesthetic interpretation, and outlandish personal vision. After the critical and commercial success of his adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, Russell continued to explore the related themes of art, sexuality, and music in The Music Lovers, The Boy Friend, Mahler, Tommy, and Lisztomania. His career foundered after Valentino, however, and he found it increasingly difficult to get funding. Toward the end of his career, Russell was restricted to making movies with his own equipment, using family and friends as actors, with virtually no budget.

Throughout the ups and downs of his career, Russell alternately embraced and resented his characterization as an enfant terrible. While Russell’s comments are often meant to provoke and shock, he is articulate when discussing his films, his approach to cinema, music and composers, and, of course, his critics.