English film director Ken Russell, who was nominated for an Oscar for his 1969 movie “Women in Love”, has died at the age of 84. His son, Alex Verney-Elliott, said he died in hospital on Sunday following a series of strokes.
“My father died peacefully, he died with a smile on his face,” Mr Verney-Elliott said.Source: www.bbc.co.uk
He was known for his controversial movies including “Women in Love,” “The Devils” and “Tommy.”
Mr. Russell’s career in feature films began with a couple of lightweight genre assignments — the romantic comedy “French Dressing” (1964) and “Billion Dollar Brain” (1967), a spy movie with Michael Caine — and took off with “Women in Love” (1969), a sensuous period piece that connected with the liberated sexual politics of the late ’60s. Although the film was generally well-reviewed and a mainstream success— it earned Mr. Russell his one Academy Award nomination for best director and won Glenda Jackson an Oscar for best actress — it was also the first glimpse of his flair for provocation.
“Women in Love” became notorious for an extended wrestling scene between the two male stars, Oliver Reed and Alan Bates, that featured full-frontal nudity and made it past the British censorship board only after Mr. Russell agreed to trim a few shots.
“The Dance of the Seven Veils,” a caricatured television drama from 1970, emphasized the connections of the composer Richard Strauss to the Third Reich. The Strauss estate withdrew the music rights, and the film, the last that Mr. Russell made for the BBC, remains suppressed to this day.
His 1971 film “The Devils,” based on real events that had inspired a play by John Whiting and a book by Aldous Huxley, tells the grotesque story of demonic possession at a French convent, complete with exorcism rituals and blasphemous orgies. Mr. Russell, who converted to Catholicism in the 1950s, saw the film as an attack on the corrupt union of church and state.
He is survived by his wife Elize.