Ken Russell dead at 84

Ken Russell was one of the most controversial and colourful film characters in British cinema history. He passed away last weekend at age 84. He was regarded as something of an enfant terrible in the film industry and was known for his graphic portrails of violence and sex. His movies became famous for their controversial scenes, for example in his 1971 production, The Devils, which saw nuns taking part in orgies. This movie was actually banned in the UK and is being released for the first time on DVD next year.

Despite is controversy, he was a very talented director and many of those involved with him in the film industry have offered great praise. Michael Winner has recently commented, “His contribution to the film industry in this country is unique and he took it beyond what other people at the time were doing.”

Film production was never something but Russell started out wanting to do, and he served in the armed forces for many years. After this he became a photographer and started making films as a hobby. Eventually he came to prominence with the BBC Arts Program and from this point his career took off.

Many people have said that he is not just famous for his controversial movies and there is much more to the director than this. Jane Giles is the head of the British Film Institute and she has said, “He played a very important role in the development of television and film. He used a great deal of visual imagination that was not really so popular at the time. He was certainly known for provoking audiences and critics.” Tony Earnshaw has said, “He was not the easiest man to get along with but his talent was undeniable. For a moment he was at the absolute top of the industry.”