Ken Russell

Melodrama: The Unloved Genre

There are only a few categories of film that can be guaranteed to draw fire from critics. Satires, westerns, musicals – and melodramas. This last one has long been out of favour. Historically, a melodrama was a serious play interspersed with  music accompanying the action. Now it means a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events […]

Odd Films From Mainstream Directors

Graham Greene used to divide his novels into ‘entertainments’ and serious books, and the entertainments were better. Sir Arthur Sullivan spent his life worrying about being more serious, and when he finally wrote ‘Ivanhoe’, his serious opera, it was a horrible flop, and he remained best-known for his work with Gilbert. When creators aim for […]

Designing Dreams

The state of the British film industry has been a standing joke since the 1970s, despite a number of superbly realised movies spread rather thinly across the subsequent decades. We maintained a penchant for kitchen-sink dramas after John Osborne wrote ‘Look Back In Anger’ in the 1950s (at the time, a much needed astringent, now […]

Repeat After Me

The Independent reports that scientists at Cornell University have created a computer program to break down the formula behind some of cinema catchphrases. Computer scientist Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil (possibly bothered by the fact that his name will never become a catchphrase) wanted to check political speeches and news bulletins to pick out the best lines, but […]