Savage Messiah (1972)

Savage Messiah




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Based on the book of the same name by H.S. Ede, eccentric director Ken Russell created this biographical drama of a great early 20th century artist who died tragically young. Henri Gaudier (Scott Anthony) is only 18 years old, a self-taught Parisian sculptor of enormous talent but prone to rash, exuberant behavior. Henri meets and begins a platonic but emotionally intense relationship with Sophie Brzeksa (Dorothy Tutin), a cultured Polish woman 20 years his senior. The relationship between Henri … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Christopher Logue, H.S. Ede
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 23, 1994



as Sophie Brzeska

as Henri Gaudier-Brzesk...

as Gosh Smith-Boyle

as Angus Corky

as Mons. Gaudier

as Lionel Shaw

as Louvre Attendant

as Mme. Gaudier

as Maj. Boyle

as Mavis Coldstream

as Thomas Buff

as Mr. Saltzman

as Agitator

as Gendarme

as Library Student
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Savage Messiah

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Henri's interesting relationship with the ageing authoress Sophie Brzeska is lost in the director's overriding credo that both art and films are a matter of how much energy you exert.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Russell takes the mystique away from art, but supplies nothing much in its place.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

You get to like Henri and Sophia, maybe more than they like themselves.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It's 'the Ken Russell movie for people who don't like Ken Russell movies,' but the truth is that it's also the film for those who not only like, but love Ken Russell movies.

Full Review… | January 21, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

One of Russell's less successful art movies, still over-the-top in his trademark style, but not jaw-droppingly so.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

June 30, 2005

Audience Reviews for Savage Messiah

marvelous, full of passion and romance at a breakneck pace, it's a great deal of fun and ultimately very moving. also contains what i would guess is one of helen mirren's earliest naked performances. RIP ken russell, enfant terrible.

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


A lovely, entertaining film that only has occasional flashes of the baroque extravagance that later became Ken Russell's trademark. The actors spend most of the film shouting, but it seems to be faithful to the story (artistic temperaments, you know). According to the IMDB, the lead actor only appeared in four films (one of them made for British television). Interesting. And strange how obscure this film is today -- not even available on DVD?

On the smutty side, the film boasts the phenomenally sexy hips of the young Helen Mirren (in full-frontal glory) and a director of photography named Dick Bush.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Like all of Russell's many film biographies of artists, this one deals with the borderline madness and singularity of creative individuals. It also beautifully portrays an artist little known to most people. Both subtle and in your face, a la Ken Russell.

Jim Bernath

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