Peter Tchaikovsky created some of the most romantic and beloved music ever. Surely he must have a man sensitivities for above human passions and pitfalls. Not so, says Ken Russell (Women in Love, Crimes of Passion), director of the lavish Tchaikovsky bio-pic The Music Lovers. Declaring that he was “fed up with the reverential treatment of musical heroes,” Russell sold his film to backers by describing it as a “love story between a homosexual and a nymphomaniac.”
It’s a love story unlike any other, filled with one bravura visual flourish after another. Matched with the breathtaking sighs are the incomparable Tchaikovsky music selections (“Piano Concerto in B-Flat Minor,” “Swan Lake,” the “1812 Overture” and more), played by the London Symphony Orchestra.
Richard Chamberlain and Glenda Jackson star as the ill-matched lovers, but the real star is behind the camera. “With The Music Lovers, Russell emerges as one of the great directors of our era.” (Richard Schickel, Life.)