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Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Robert Powell as famed composer Gustav Mahler dons blackface and sings "Mammy" at one point in Ken Russell's maddening burlesque of his life. Framed by flashbacks during Mahler's train journey towards his deathbed in 1911 Vienna, Russell permits glimpses of the composer's life through a series of moving and/or ridiculous snippets: Mahler is seen to have had an oppressive childhood --which is reflected in his early compositions; his grudgingly taking up the conductor's baton so that he can find time to compose his symphonies; his confused relationship with his wife; his conversion to Judaism; his obsession with death. And yet through it all, Russell manages to convey the loneliness of the artistic soul.


Robert Powell
as Gustav Mahler
Georgina Hale
as Alma Mahler
Lee Montague
as Bernhard Mahler
Rosalie Crutchley
as Marie Mahler
Benny Lee
as Uncle Arnold
Miriam Karlin
as Aunt Rosa
Angela Down
as Justine
David Collings
as Hugo Wolfe
Antonia Ellis
as Cosima Wagner
Arnold Yarrow
as Grandfather
Dana Gillespie
as Anna von Mildenburg
Elaine Delmar
as Princess
Michael Southgate
as Alois Mahler
Otto Diamant
as Prof. Sladky
Gary Rich
as Young Mahler
Andrew Faulds
as Doctor On Train
David Trevena
as Dr. Richter
Oliver Reed
as Stationmaster
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Critic Reviews for Mahler

All Critics (4)

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

Jun 23, 2003 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: A | Full Review…

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

Jan 1, 2000

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