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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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“A Long, Dark Coda into the Night”

“A Long, Dark Coda into the Night”

The Composer Films of Tony Palmer

(p.217) 5 “A Long, Dark Coda into the Night”
Composers in the Movies

John C. Tibbetts

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the work of Tony Palmer, who, together with his friend and former colleague Ken Russell, has devoted so much of his career to this troublesome genre of biographical film—and aroused more praise than blame in the process. As Palmer acknowledged in an article he wrote in 1988, making biopics is not a practice for the faint of heart: “Making film profiles of creative artists is a dangerous business. First, you soon realize that more or less everyone knows/knew the subject better than you....Next, you discover that the world is full of ‘experts’ who are rapidly rewriting history to show themselves in the best possible light....Even more dangerous, assuming, of course, that it's the truth we are seeking, are those participants who seek to ‘interpret’ the subject's life (and intentions) based on little evidence and less knowledge, except that they happen to be brother/sister/daughter/wife/confidante, etc., and thus (one would assume) possessed of invaluable insight.”

Keywords:   biographical film, Tony Palmer, genre, biopics, creative artists, interpret

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