Monday, November 30, 2015

The Debussy Film: Impressions of the French Composer (1965)

Directed by Ken Russell
My rating: 2.5 stars out of 4

Vladek Sheybal plays a film director making a movie about Debussy, with Oliver Reed in the title role. The two have long discussions about how Reed is to play the character, inter-spliced with scenes from that film. It is not always obvious how this makes us understand Debussy any better than a straightforward biography would have. As a result, it comes off mostly as a gimmick. That, combined with Debussy's unsympathetic character as a tortured artist and womanizer, makes this early made-for-tv effort from Russell little more than an interesting curio. There are, however, a few tantalizing scenes which foreshadow things to come.

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