Ken Russell is one of the biggest names in cinema that is still alive today. Very few of the old greats can claim the same. Having worked in the business for over half a century, he has been getting a lot of attention in Montreal recently, as his genius is being rediscovered. Such attention is usually given posthumously, so it is great that our city knows to respect the great minds of the cinema. With a recent retrospective at the Cinematheque Quebecoise, and a special rare screening of his classic The Devils at Fantasia last month, His hard work was not left unrecognized, and it certainly caught his attention, since he gave old Montreal a little visit, to receive a lifetime achievement award at Fantasia. I was lucky enough to be in the same room with the man, during a screening of a very disturbing film.
But the fun doesn't stop there. This Saturday night, the Film Society is hosting a very special screening of one of his rarest films, The Boy Friend. While released the same year as The Devils, at the height of his career, the controversy surrounded the latter film took all the attention away from the light-hearted musical, The Boy Friend. This classic romantic comedy, starring 70s supermodel Twiggy, is about the mishaps of staging a musical, with Twiggy playing a stage manager who is forced to replace her lead actress on stage.
For a controversial director such as Ken Russell this seems like an odd choice, but for a director known for taking great risks, this lavish and extravagant throwback to 20s and 30s musicals is right up his alley. It has never been officially released on DVD, so I don't have to tell you how important and how much of a rare opportunity this is. It will be presented in a rare cinemascope print, this Saturday, at Blue Sunshine, Montreal's newest psychotronic cinema room: 3660 St-Laurent.