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Lisztomania [DVD] 
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- Directors Commentary
- Theatrical Trailer
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Top Customer Reviews
'Lisztomania' is Russell's MOST misunderstood and MOST unjustly derided motion picture. I'll bet much filthy lucre Russell laughed like a drain while he shot it. If ever a film, jam packed with fabulously garish and disrespectful visuals, was designed and clinically executed with the sole purpose of goading pompous, humourless, over-reverential critics - 'Lisztomania' is it.
Where else can you see a film where Richard Wagner grows a pair of vampire fangs; makes an Aryan monster (Thor - played by overblown organ-obsessive Rick Wakeman!); stages a thoroughly nightmarish 'Rape of the Rhine Maidens' - with the perpetrator sporting a Star of David tattoo (on his forehead!!); teaches innocent little kiddies anti-Semitic rock songs about 'Teutonic Godheads'; dies; then returns from the grave as a swastika emblazoned Frankenstein's monster with a Hitler moustache, firing an enormous guitar/machine gun at a space-ship full of his and Franz Liszt's ex-lovers, who are trying to bomb him ?
You can't... can you ?
Yes you can - and much, much more in 'Lisztomania'.
See Ringo Starr as the Pope: "Raped at gunpoint?....well it happens to the best of us my son".Read more ›
I suppose the film with which we might compare Lisztomania is ‘Song without End’ (1960), starring Dirk Bogarde. This too follows closely events in Liszt’s life and is not too bad for its time, but is staid in comparison with Russell’s effort (but then God’s own creation is staid in comparison with what might have been Russell’s version.) Thus, within the first five seconds of ‘Lisztomania’ we have outrageous sets, naughty humour, a witty script, and fantastical ideas. These ideas continue throughout the film and glory in anachronism. It gets worse/better (depending on your point of view) as the film goes on, but it is all never less than entertaining.
Roger Daltrey is not an actor who indulges in nuance, but perhaps Russell’s conception of Liszt’s part does not require much depth. It is a romp after all (in more ways than one). Paul Nicholas plays Wagner, and there are cameos by Oliver Reed, Ringo Starr (as the pope), and Rick Wakeman. I particularly enjoyed one of the opening scenes where Chopin, Berlioz, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Rossini, and Schumann are all at the same party.
I’ve described the film as a romp, but what audiences and critics at the time may have hissed at – the film’s all-too-frequent provocative absurdity (aka ‘bad taste’) – we can instead appreciate today as simply Russell’s humour. Admittedly, the anti-Wagner rhetoric is a bit over the top and grates after a while. I suppose we must be thankful that Russell never did a biopic of Wagner.Read more ›
Ken Russell is very neglected in the DVD format for some reason. Lisztomania reminded me of the Rocky Horror Picture Show - although it is a companion piece to Tommy. I'd suggest this isn't one of Ken's best, but worthy of a viewing for the uninitiated. Much prefer the Music Lovers and Mahler.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I agree with previous reviewer who found this DVD rubbish.
In fact I couldn't endure to watch it to the very end!
This is what Russell is often feted for: total OTT, gratuitous and bawdy film making. But he's good at this style, giving it merit and insight into an historical situation. Read morePublished on 19 Aug. 2013 by Opusmalone