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Composers in the MoviesStudies in Musical Biography$
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John C. Tibbetts

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106749

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106749.001.0001

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“Just an Innocent Bystander”

“Just an Innocent Bystander”

The Composer Films of Ken Russell

(p.155) 4 “Just an Innocent Bystander”
Composers in the Movies

John C. Tibbetts

Yale University Press

This chapter is mainly concerned with Ken Russell and his breakthrough Elgar, which had inaugurated a unique sensibility in the conception and crafting of biography, art, and ideas on film—an imaginative interplay of fact and fantasy that continues to influence filmmakers today. Throughout his long career Russell's antic imagination, canny exploitation of music, dazzling showmanship, and controversial pose have conveyed to theater and television audiences worldwide insistently idiosyncratic interpretations of the lives and music of a number of great composers. These films, however, are not the only ones from Russell's oeuvre to benefit from his lifelong passion for classical music; even his nominally nonmusical projects for television and film, like his portraits of poets and painters, are flooded with musical references that inform and enhance their images.

Keywords:   Ken Russell, Elgar, unique sensibility, idiosyncratic interpretations, nonmusical projects, musical references

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