Dedicated follower of fascism: Richard Strauss and Dance of The Seven Veils
It is banned so watch it while you can. One section, #7 is missing. If you hate Nazis this is YOUR film. Even in pink bootleg sepia this is another Ken Russell masterpiece. The first ten minutes, especially the BBC voice over warning are priceless. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Some of Strauss' classics sounds like Andrew Lloyd Webber on crack.
Ken Russell - Omnibus: Dance of the Seven Veils (1970)
I was not sure which film to delve into next. I'd been thinking of jumping a decade or so after Mahler to Aria or even further to Lion's Mouth but today Ken made post on Facebook. "Dance of The Seven Veils" this long banned 55 minute film for the BBC Omnibus will be screened as a double bill with Mahler on August 28th at Chichester Cinema at New Park.
AND SO WILL KEN! He'll be there to introduce with his beautiful wife Lisi and to undoubtedly inspire more ballsy film-makers to kick more Nazi composer butt. I won't be able to be there to see what is to me, thee ideal double feature. BUT! I wish those lucky people who do attend all the best. So I am off to write my own piece on Ken's Richard Strauss film for later this week, till then here is a great take on it.
From the delightful essay The Forgotten Struswitz by David Cairns:
"Russell's composer films draw flack because they venerate and rejoice in the music while frequently ridiculing or exposing the foibles of the artists themselves. Dance of the Seven Veils is possibly Russell's most savage attack on a composer (apart from possibly his treatment of Wagner in Lisztomania, seen as Dracula, building a Nazi Frankenstein monster), but this film is not lacking in nuance, if one can speak of nuance in a movie where a troupe of critics are murdered with trombones (here, at least, Russell may be partly in sympathy with Strauss) and the composer has sex with his wife surrounded by a full orchestra. Russell paints Strauss as naive, hypocritical, sometimes well-meaning, arrogant, confused, talented, genuine in his pacifism, false in his claims to have kept the Nazis at a distance (cue shot of Hitler riding on Strauss's shoulders while both play violins) and generally complex, at least for a comic strip character.
Actor/dancer Christopher Gable, one of several Russell regulars in the show, plays Strauss with a caricature German accent and manner, but really comes into his own in long shot: this is one of the few Russell films where Gable really gets to dance, and he makes the whole film a ballet. Another dancer, Vladek Sheybal (the Fiddler on the Roof himself!) plays Goebbels. A funny thing about Goebbels: he always works in movies. There have been bad Hitlers, but never a bad Goebbels. Goebbels always works. Why is that?"