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Other Subjects => Television => Topic started by: Leafshimmer on June 30, 2014, 04:24:47 am

Title: Bax telefilm, 1990s, Ken Russell
Post by: Leafshimmer on June 30, 2014, 04:24:47 am
Greetings and salutations,

New here and still figuring out the ropes... so this may not be the correct place to post this query.  For years I've been trying to track down a recording of Ken Russell's telefilm, THE SECRET LIFE OF ARNOLD BAX,circa 1993, featuring Glenda Jackson (in one of her final performances before she became an MP) as Harriet Cohen.  I think it may be lucked up in a BBC vault till the last syllable of recorded time.  Has anyone out there ever seen it?  Thoughts?

Beeb did a box set of Our Ken's earlier films about various composers and artists but this wasn't included.


Steve Shutt

Title: Re: Bax telefilm, 1990s, Ken Russell
Post by: Clambert on July 29, 2014, 09:28:34 pm
I don't honestly think you're missing much, although if you should track down a copy it's worth seeing as a curiosity, but it's not remotely in the same league as, say, his Delius film. The chief drawback - apart from the rather obvious effects of severe budget constraints - was KR's decision to play Bax ; admittedly, by this stage there was a certain physical approximation between them, but the fact remains that Ken R was no actor, and so Bax simply comes across as a bit of an old Grump; but then Russell was frankly not much of a writer either, so the characterization was basic and the dialogue was pretty clunky - no real insights into the pain and regret that informed the composer as first his youth, then his middle-age, slipped away. Glenda J looks the part as Harriet Cohen, but again isn't really given much to do ("I'm going to Leeds tomorrow to play your second sonata" sort of thing), and there are of course some nice visual touches - Bax's girlfriend (I can't remember which one?) dancing on the beach to, I think, Fand, and a brief but absolutely ravishing woodland sequence accompanied by November Woods. It must be 20 years since I last saw it so I suppose it's creditable that I recall that much, though I think I probably saw it at least twice. As I say, a curiosity - and (I admit) a better one than, say, his dire film about Martinu...