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Lisztomania [DVD] [1975]

3.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Roger Daltrey, Nell Campbell, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas, John Justin
  • Directors: Ken Russell
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Digital Classics DVD
  • DVD Release Date: 4 May 2009
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001THPPGW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,049 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

DVD Extras

  • Directors Commentary
  • Theatrical Trailer

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As some-one who is given to regularly reviewing the works of Ken Russell (against my better judgement I must say), a completely (often deliberately) misunderstood and unjustly derided film-maker; you eventually reach some kind of review-brick-wall; a point from which it's impossible to progress any further.

'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".
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Format: DVD
Ken Russell made ‘Lisztomania’ (1975) straight after completing his rock opera ‘Tommy’. He wanted to make another biopic of a classical composer but one that would be appreciated by those who enjoyed ‘Tommy’.

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.
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Format: VHS Tape
...It hardly matters. The fact is that Lisztomania remains Ken Russell's most vociferously castigated film, and that's saying something. If anything Lisztomania proves merely that critics watch films with their eyes and not with their ears. "Bad taste" "outrageous" "camp" and "over the top" are adjectives frequently found in conjunction with reviews of Russell films. Perhaps we'd all prefer to sit down for the latest didactic lesson in wife-beating from Ken Loach, to show us the true extent of British film-making innovation and genius. Why oh why as a race are we so anally retentive about revisionism? Why does any mention of Lisztomania still result in a resounding cacophony of sphincters closing so spontaneously, that it drowns out old Ken's attempts to marry his own, ahem, "ecletic" visual interpretation of the passion and energy of what might have been going through Liszt the man's mind to his aural compositions? On second thoughts perhaps we'd all better go and remind ourselves how serious and solemn cinema must unreserverdly be at all times with a screening of The Passion of Christ. But wait! for yet I hear the ring of the holy cash registers of the local multiplex...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Disappointed that this is a non-anamorphic letterbox presentation. Also print transfer is so-so - nothing to write home about. At least Ken provided a commentary - although even here the great Ken is very underpar - as a lot of these commentaries tend to be.

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.
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