Ken Russell’s outrageous adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, taking place in 1892 at a brothel where the actual Wilde (Nickolas Grace) watches a production of his own play. Glenda Jackson also stars as Herodias.
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The framing device gives Russell context to indulge in amateur dramatics. However the immersive quality of the text & blurring of the line between dramas, both on-stage & off, means the experience & performances become slowly charged with a genuine intensity. There's a bold commentary here about the corruption of the upper-classes & the exploitation of those on the bottom rung, as a dark conspiracy begins to form.
Another delirious flight of overwrought fancy from Ken Russell. It manages to overcome its single-set location and stage-bound material to become a witty, ribald visual spectacle. Imogen Millais Scott steals the show as the title seductress, not an easy feat with a cast this flamboyant. Not for all tastes, but a must for Russell fans.
Curio Ken. One from his late 1980s revival period with Vestron. Static staging and very broad telling of the Wilde play. Not entirely successful and rather on the lines of a cinematic blown raspberry with very fruity performances from Johns and Jackson. Something of a minor bridge from his baroque high period (Music Lovers, Devils, Tommy, etc.) to his more recent low budget, backyard films (Louse of Usher).
Ken Russell's extravagant universe of hybrid and androgynous identities suffers from a faux cinematic quality that is often relegated to shallow TV style. Yet, the contemporary implications drawn from the play, the over-sexualization of the personae who surround Salome (Millais-Scott is a revelation) and the discourse about repression and the ritualist excesses of a sexual self offer visual and intellectual rewards.
Can anyone who owns the American DVD please tell me what aspect ratio this is in? I just got the Italian version and it's 1.33:1, but I can't tell if it's open matte or pan and scan. A screenshot may help too. Thanks!