Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Dance of The Seven Veils

The last couple of posts have had a distinctly Teutonic feel and, of course, the big, bad news of the week is the death of Ken Russell, so I thought I'd combine both themes with a special presentation of Ken's 1970 Omnibus film 'Dance Of The Seven Veils'.

The programme is a film essay / comic strip satire about Richard Strauss, a great German composer who had the misfortune of living long enough to see the rise of Hitler. Strauss wasn't a Nazi, and was alternately feted and berated by the Fuhrer, but he sometimes allowed himself and his music to be used by the odious Goebbels as part of the Third Reich's propaganda regime. Post war analysis has revealed that he had his reasons (ensuring the safety of his Jewish daughter in law and his half-Jewish grandchildren) but his reputation was permanently besmirched by the association.

Dear old Ken tackled this ambiguity and the rest of Strauss' life in his usual sensitive, low key way, so offending Strauss' family that they immediately withdrew all music rights, limiting it to a single broadcast. It still languishes in the vaults today, waiting until 2019 when Strauss will have been dead for 70 years and the music can be restored.

Anyway, here we are. Beware, this is 'BBC archive' quality and VERY Ken Russell. RIP, Ken.

I love the initial polite but firm health warning announcement from the announcer and it got me thinking about the BBC then and now and what the equivalent show / announcement would be nowadays and came up with 'now on BBC1, Alan Yentob looks at the life and work of Jamie Cullum'.

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