RIP: Ken Russell, Fever-Dream Fabulist, Dead At 84

THE GUARDIAN: Ken Russell, the director behind the Oscar-winning Women in Love has died aged 84. Russell died on Sunday in his sleep, according to his friend, the arts writer Norman Lebrecht. Known for a flamboyant style that was developed during his early career in television, Russell’s films mixed high and low culture with unusual deftness and often courted controversy. The Devils … a religious drama that featured an infamous scene between Oliver Reed and Venessa Redgrave sexualising the crucifixion – was initially rejected by Warner Brothers. It will finally be released in its entirety in March next year, 42 years after it was made, when it will form part of the BFI’s centenary celebrations. Women in Love, released in 1969, became notorious for its nude male wrestling scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed, while Tommy, his starry version of The Who’s rock opera, was his biggest commercial success, beginning as a stage musical before being reimagined for the screen in 1976. But Russell fell out of the limelight in recent years, as some of his funding resources dried up and his proposed projects ever more eclectic. He returned to the public eye in 2007, when he appeared on the fifth edition of Celebrity Big Brother, before quitting the show after a disagreement with fellow contestant Jade Goody. MORE

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