Ken Russell (1927-2011) b. Southampton, England.
The ageing enfant terrible of the British cinema, Ken Russell has done more than any other director to open up controversy and anger among those who rarely go near their local screen. In Women in Love (1969) he introduced a nude wrestling scene, The Music Lovers (1971) over-reached itself in portraying bizarre and impossible events in Tchaikovsky’s life, The Devils (1971) had every excess that has yet found its way to the screen. In spite of his propensity to shock Russell is a serious director of distinction, whose grounding in television, where he made a number of excellent, imaginative biographies of composers (Elgar, Sibelius, Strauss etc), has given him a command of cinematic language of astonishing fluency. Russells films have continued to be eccentric and outrageous taking in The Who’s rock opera Tommy (1975), Gothic (1986) and Lair of the White Worm (1988).