Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Has to be seen to believed. After Tommy, studios gave Russell a ton ton of money to work with. They soon regretted their decision. Any movie the has Paul Nicholas as Frankenstein Hitler/Richard Wagner, Rick Wakeman as a Viking dressed as Thor and Ringo Starr as the pope is a must see. I didn't even mention the maypole dance or Little Nell.
This may well be the worst movie I have ever seen.
Ahh Ken Russell the English Fellini?
Well maybe but this 1975 rock musical based on the life of Franz Liszt is so over the top that its beyond the top and into its own space.
Roger Daltrey is Liszt telling his rival composers to piss off and riding atop of a giant penis while women are dancing to praise his bedroom prowess.
Then Paul Nicholas plays Wagner as a scheming Nazi vampire who becomes a machine gun toting Frankenstein monster.
Ringo Starr turns up as the pope and Rick Wakeman plays Thor while the film climaxes with Daltey in a rocket powered pipe organ!!!!!!!!!!!
Russell is clearly enjoying himself here and if you take the film a as tongue in cheek mickey take then you will go along with it.
However if your expecting factual I would suggest you look elsewhere.
Maddest movie ever - outrageous - but not one for me.
I am unable to defend Ken Russell's big budget excursion into celluloid insanity, but I can state that you will be hard-pressed to find a major studio financed film the comes even close to being as strange as this one. The concept is not a bad one -- in many ways one could make a case that Franz Liszt was the first "pop star" inciting the beginning of "fans" and "celebrity" -- however, Ken Russell stretches the concept way too far. The music of Liszt and Wagoner are given glam-electronic interpretation by Rick Wakeman and Russell turns the life of Franz Liszt into a surreal comic book version of history. Intentionally offensive and obviously drug-induced, this film holds a certain charm. I take some form of comfort in knowing that this film was somehow made. For Ken Russell and fans of Cinematic Oddity only.
Please note that I am in no way trying to state the Ken Russell's truly insane film is great -- but it is so odd and visually lush one would have to work hard to state it isn't of interest. How a major Hollywood studio "green lighted" this movie is kind of awesome. The concept is not bad --- and if one is familiar with the history of classical music, a case can easily be made that Franz Liszt may have very well been the first "star" who gave more "concerts" that standard-form performances. Ken Russell's analogy of the 1970's Glam Rock Star to Franz Liszt just goes too many shades over the top. It doesn't take long before phallic symbols, a giant penis, and a comic book style story of Richard Wagner and Cosima Liszt creating a Hitler monster hellbent on Holocaust all to Rick Wakeman's interesting Rock/Electronica re-imagining of Liszt/Wager composition! This is camp on a whole new kind of level. Plus, Ringo Starr is The Pope! With each passing scene this movie takes the most strange turns ever captured in a "mainstream/big budget" movie. A memorable cinematic error - Ken Russell's goofy movie deserves some credit for such heightened levels of non-restraint and ultra-weirdness. Unforgettable. But, one viewing is likely all you will ever need. Franz Liszt with a Cockney accent! Who knew?
This movie is fucking insane. It's weirder than Tommy which I didnt think was possible? Total lack of narrative plus Liszt songs Roger Daltry wrote lyrics to played out with synths and excessive use of the wah wah pedal. This movie must have been hilarious to make. I mean, at first you're just like what the fuck is happening, and then after an hour you're like "oh, theyre gonna guillotine his penis. Oh it's the devil. The devil is taking his penis. fair." Can't put a price on that kind of experience imo. Also props for callin Wagner out on being a dick.
Franz Listz, a huge 19th century celebrity because of his hit version of "Chopsticks," beds a succession of mistresses until the Pope orders him to travel to Germany and exorcise a demon from rival composer Richard Wagner. It's the biography of Franz Liszt if it were directed by Benny Hill working from a script by Federico Fellini; its silly and phallic, and lots of fun if you can surrender yourself to it.
Franz Liszt(Roger Daltrey) performs at a sold out show, almost entirely composed of screaming teenaged girls. The only exception is Richard Wagner(Paul Nicholas), a promising young composer, whose work Liszt makes fun of before Wagner slinks off into the darkness. Fame is not all fun and games as Liszt is commanded to perform for Tsar Nicholas, taking him away again from his paramour Marie(Fiona Lewis) who gave up everything to be with him. At least, his daughter Cosima(Veronica Quilligan) makes him a doll which should comfort him until he makes a detour to visit Princess Carolyn(Sara Kestelman).
With baroque, anachronistic and stylistic energy and imagery that includes an additional debt to classic and silent films, Ken Russell is less interested in the facts of Franz Liszt's life, assuming the audience is already familiar with his story and music(all I know is from the film "Impromptu" which featured Julian Sands as the Hungarian composer), than with creating a personal and psycho-political film that tries with a good deal of success to show what the inside of an artist's head looks like. Of course, not everything we see in there is pretty, as Liszt lives constantly in fear of being castrated and/or trapped. That's nothing compared to Richard Wagner who Russell sees as the root of all evil, i.e. Nazism. While I admire the effort to show the Nazis not occuring in a political vacuum, their causes probably went beyond just one classical composer.
Oh my, what have I gotten myself into? This is a rather strange film by well-known British director Ken Russell, and what a strange introduction to the director this is for me. The film is a loosely based biography on 19th century composer Franz Liszt in which he's portrayed as a sort of modern day rock star, Liszt is played by Roger Daltrey of The Who fame and he does a good job in the role. Speaking of rock stars, we also get appearances from the Beatles singer Ringo Star, as the pope, and Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, as an idiotic, cyborg Thor who also composes the films music which is mostly "up-to-date" versions on the works of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, the films antagonist and another 19th century composer. This is a really strange flick but it's not unwatchable by any means. On a side note, you better get used to the image of a penis because you'll be seeing it a hell of a lot.