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The Music Lovers

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Genre  Biography, Drama, Music
Country  United Kingdom
7.2/10 IMDb

Director  Ken Russell
Budget  1.6 million GBP
Language  English
The Music Lovers movie poster

Writer  Melvyn Bragg, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Barbara von Meck
Release date  December 1970 (UK)24 January 1971 (US)
Music director  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Andre Previn
Cast  Richard Chamberlain (Tchaikovsky), Glenda Jackson (Nina), Max Adrian (Nicholas Rubinstein), Kenneth Colley (Modeste Tchaikovsky), Christopher Gable (Count Anton Chiluvsky), Bruce Robinson (Alexei Sofronov)
Similar movies  Whitesnake: Made in Japan, Kiss: Monster Tour in Zurich, Taylor Swift & Def Leppard: CMT Crossroads, Bon Jovi: Live on VH1 Unplugged, Kiss: Rock the Nation Live, Kiss: MTV Unplugged

The music lovers 1970

The Music Lovers is a 1970 British drama film directed by Ken Russell. The screenplay by Melvyn Bragg, based on Beloved Friend, a collection of personal correspondence edited by Catherine Drinker Bowen and Barbara von Meck, focuses on the life and career of 19th-century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It was one of the director's biographical films about classical composers, which include Elgar (1962), Delius: Song of Summer (1968), Mahler (1974) and Lisztomania (1975), made from an often idiosyncratic standpoint.


The Music Lovers movie scenes

The music lovers 1970 theatrical trailer


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Much of the film is without dialogue and the story is presented in flashbacks, nightmares, and fantasy sequences set to Tchaikovsky's music. As a child, the composer sees his mother die horribly, forcibly immersed in scalding water as a supposed cure for cholera, and is haunted by the scene throughout his musical career. Despite his difficulty in establishing his reputation, he attracts Madame Nadezhda von Meck as his patron. His marriage to the nymphomaniacal Antonina Miliukova is plagued by his homosexual urges and lustful desire for Count Anton Chiluvsky. The dynamics of his life lead to deteriorating mental health and the loss of von Meck's patronage, and he dies of cholera after deliberately drinking contaminated water.


The Music Lovers The Music Lovers Wikipedia

  • Richard Chamberlain... Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Glenda Jackson... Antonina Miliukova
  • Max Adrian... Nikolai Rubinstein
  • Christopher Gable... Count Anton Chiluvsky
  • Kenneth Colley... Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Izabella Telezynska... Nadezhda von Meck
  • Maureen Pryor... Nina's Mother
  • Sabina Maydelle... Sasha Tchaikovsky
  • Andrew Faulds... Davidov
  • Bruce Robinson... Alexei Sofronov
  • Ben Aris... Young Lieutenant
  • Graham Armitage ... Prince Balukin
  • Georgina Parkinson... Odile (in Swan Lake ballet)
  • Harry Fielder... Gentleman (uncredited)
  • Peter White... Von Rothbart (in Swan Lake ballet, uncredited)
  • Principal production credits

    The Music Lovers The Music Lovers Movie Review 1971 Roger Ebert

  • Executive Producer ..... Roy Baird
  • Original Music ..... André Previn
  • Cinematography ..... Douglas Slocombe
  • Production Design ..... Natasha Kroll
  • Art Direction ..... Michael Knight
  • Costume Design ..... Shirley Ann Russell
  • Soundtrack

    The Music Lovers Amazoncom The Music Lovers Richard Chamberlain Glenda Jackson

    The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André Previn, performs excerpts from the following pieces:

    The Music Lovers The Music Lovers 1970 Part 1 YouTube

  • Piano Concerto in B-flat minor (soloist Rafael Orozco)
  • Eugene Onegin (soprano April Cantelo)
  • Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique
  • Manfred Symphony
  • Fantasy-Overture Romeo and Juliet
  • 1812 Overture
  • Incidental music to Hamlet
  • Critical reception

    The Music Lovers The Music Lovers A Tchaikovsky biopic thats a bit pathetique

    The film received mostly bad reviews when it was released in the United States, but elsewhere has since become somewhat of a cult movie. On July 28, 1991 it aired on the BBC cult film TV series Moviedrome.

    The Music Lovers The Music Lovers 1970 VHS Richard Chamberlain Glenda Jackson

    In his review in the New York Times, Vincent Canby stated,

    The Music Lovers The Music Lovers A Tchaikovsky biopic thats a bit pathetique

    Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "an involved and garish private fantasy" and "totally irresponsible as a film about, or inspired by, or parallel to, or bearing a vague resemblance to, Tchaikovsky, his life and times."

    The Music Lovers The Music Lovers Richard Chamberlain

    Time said, "Seventy-seven years have passed since Tchaikovsky's death. In this epoch of emancipated morality, it would be reasonable to expect that his life would be reviewed with fresh empathy. But no; the same malignant attitudinizing that might have been applied decades ago is still at work . . . [the film's] arch tableaux, its unstable amalgam of life and art, make it a director's picture . . . attempting to reveal psychology through music, Russell makes every character grotesque, every bar of music programmatic."

    Variety opined, "By unduly emphasizing the mad and the perverse in their biopic . . . producer-director Ken Russell and scripter Melvyn Bragg lose their audience. The result is a motion picture that is frequently dramatically and visually stunning but more often tedious and grotesque . . . Instead of a Russian tragedy, Russell seems more concerned with haunting the viewers' memory with shocking scenes and images. The opportunity to create a memorable and fluid portrait of the composer has been sacrificed for a musical Grand Guignol."

    In the Cleveland Press, Toni Mastroianni said, "The movies have treated composers notoriously badly but few films have been quite so awful as this pseudo-biography of Tchaikovsky."

    Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader described the film as a "Ken Russell fantasia – musical biography as wet dream" and added, "[it] hangs together more successfully than his other similar efforts, thanks largely to a powerhouse performance by Glenda Jackson, one actress who can hold her own against Russell's excess."

    TV Guide calls it "a spurious biography of a great composer that is so filled with wretched excesses that one hardly knows where to begin . . . all the attendant surrealistic touches director Ken Russell has added take this out of the realm of plausibility and into the depths of cheap gossip."

    Time Out New York calls it "vulgar, excessive, melodramatic and self-indulgent . . . the drama is at fever pitch throughout . . . Chamberlain doesn't quite have the range required in the central role, though his keyboard skills are impressive."

    Pauline Kael would later say in an interview: "You really feel you should drive a stake through the heart of the man who made it. I mean it is so vile. It is so horrible."


    The Music Lovers was released to DVD by MGM Home Entertainment on October 12th, 2011 via its DVD-on-demand service available through Amazon.


    The Music Lovers Wikipedia
    The Music Lovers IMDb The Music Lovers