Ken Russell Peter Mezan - Essay

Peter Mezan

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Russell's movies present something of an enigma, since nobody is too sure who likes them. While art-theatre habitués say that Russell is commercial, the studios seem to feel he is too stylized for the masses and must therefore, by elimination, be art theatre. Where the confusion arises is that Russell's stylizations, while undoubtedly very arty, aspire to the peculiarly unserious condition of a kind of scurrilous cartoon realism in which queening, transmogrified Classics Illustrated characters enacting fancy-dress charades speak lines so banal that nothing anybody says can make the slightest difference to anybody else; in which whole lifetimes are reduced to a handful of hyper-romanticized traumas, climaxes of...

(The entire section is 518 words.)