Mahler (1974)






Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Amazingly, director Ken Russell does not attempt to stuff Mahler full of the deliberate anachronisms (save, perhaps, for all those references to Nazis) and anti-establishment proselytizing which distinguished the director's earlier musical biopics. Instead, this is a relatively reverent study of the life and work of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, here played by Robert Powell. The film tackles the touchy dilemma of Mahler's Jewishness in the anti-Semitic atmosphere of 19th-century Vienna. He … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Ken Russell
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 4, 2006
Criterion Collection

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as Gustav Mahler

as Alma Mahler

as Bernhard Mahler

as Marie Mahler

as Uncle Arnold

as Aunt Rosa

as Justine

as Hugo Wolfe

as Cosima Wagner

as Grandfather

as Anna von Mildenburg

as Princess

as Alois Mahler

as Prof. Sladky

as Young Mahler

as Dr. Roth

as Doctor On Train

as Dr. Richter

as Stationmaster
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Critic Reviews for Mahler

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

This is filmmaking -- and filmmaking of a kind we've rarely seen.

Full Review… | June 23, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Though the film like Mahler's music is clearly not for everyone it, nevertheless, rises in a crescendo of brilliant spectacle to overwhelm the usual timid biopic.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

MAHLER's preponderance with visuals reminds us that Russell is more of a technical director than an actor's director

| January 1, 2000

September 1, 2005

Audience Reviews for Mahler


Ken Russell's "Mahler" is a trip. The visual imagery of a woman emerging from a cocoon and and extensive battle where the conversion of a Jew to Christianity forces him to destroy a Star of David and eat the head of a pig are amongst the things to look forward to; and yet, Russell manages to make some big statements about Gustav Mahler's life through this bizarre interpretation of his life. My favorite part of the film comes about 5 minutes in, when Gustav watches a scene from "Death in Venice" unfold before his eyes with the beautiful "Adagietto" playing. This image of a composer watching the future legacy of his music is fantastic, particularly as his music was not well received in his time and he always believed that people would "get it" 50 years after his death. And they did. The film's downfall is that you have to be an expert on Mahler's life to understand most of what Russell is trying to express, giving it a very limited audience appeal. I am fairly well educated in the life and character of Mahler and yet, many of these things went over my head the first time. The acting is good and the soundtrack is incredible as we get to enjoy Mahler's music for two hours, but unless you have done significant research about the life of Mahler ahead of time, this will just come off as and extensive display of bizarre imagery.

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