7.2/10
849
17 user 12 critic

Savage Messiah (1972)

Biographical film of the life of French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dorothy Tutin ...
Sophie Brzeska
Scott Antony ...
Henri Gaudier
...
Gosh Boyle
Lindsay Kemp ...
Angus Corky
...
M. Gaudier
John Justin ...
Lionel Shaw
Aubrey Richards ...
Mayor
...
Museum Attendant
Ben Aris ...
Thomas Buff
Eleanor Fazan ...
Mdme. Gaudier
Otto Diamant ...
Mr. Saltzman
Imogen Claire ...
Mavis Coldstream
Maggy Maxwell ...
Tart
Susanna East ...
Pippa
...
Kate
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Storyline

Biographical film of the life of French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All art is sex!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Barbár messiás  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In order to save money, copies of uncopyrighted Soviet recordings of Claude Debussy and Alexander Scriabin were made. See more »

Goofs

Sophie, a native speaker of Polish, is shown mispronouncing the Polish word rysowac' 'to draw': she says REE-so-vak although the correct Polish pronunciation is (approximately) rih-SOH-vats' (with the final -ts' sound pronounced palatalized, almost like -tch). See more »

Quotes

Sophie Brzeska: My book is about sleep; that thick oily substance. Under the surface you float; half dreaming, half waking. Hidden, you hope, yet the world comes though. You cannot imagine the ways I've evolved to abolish myself there... under the surface. Half sleeping. Half waking. Leaving your worries and your clothes asleep. But the rent never sleeps and time never sleeps.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Celebrity Naked Ambition (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

"Nuages' (uncredited)
Music by Claude Debussy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ken Russell's most underrated film and one of his better ones
1 February 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ken Russell always has been a controversial film-maker, interesting and unique certainly but did have a tendency to resort to excess that could cheapen things. If we exclude his composer documentaries on Elgar, Delius and Debussy(wasn't crazy about the one on Richard Strauss), which are even better than any of his feature films, Savage Messiah is an underrated film. Maybe it could have had more time to breathe in places, while the deliberate pace was very effective there was a tendency to have a restless vibe, and more could have been done with Gaudier's war-time experiences, it was still affecting but compared to the love relationship it did seem on the brief side. However, it does rank alongside Women in Love, The Devils, The Music Lovers and Mahler as one of his better films(of his feature films the only one that I'm iffy about is Lisztomania). It is opulently and atmospherically filmed- if not as much as Valentino or The Music Lovers- and the production values are just as much and even more so. The classical music doesn't feel too much of a hodge-podge and is placed remarkably well, not feeling misplaced. Debussy is the most frequently used, and the impressionist style of his music is beautiful and powerful and judging from how many times his music has been used in his films Russell seems to think so as well. The script is dialogue-heavy and that it was very articulate and had genuine bite too is most admirable with a healthy balance of comedy and tragedy, while the story always engages and the platonic love relationship is told with emotion, while not exactly warm it's hardly hollow, and a sense of fun. Russell's direction is ideal for the subject matter and the story that's been told, like with Valentino for example you can tell he was having fun directing but he also does so with restraint, especially when being compared to Tommy or Lisztomania. There are some great touches here, those who say Helen Mirren's staircase scene is unforgettable are absolutely right, matching Leslie Caron's funeral scene entrance in Valentino in sensuality. The vegetable chopping scene is just as savage as the dialogue and you cannot fail to be moved by the final tragic 10 minutes. The performances while theatrical are fine, Scott Anthony does overact at times but carries the film excellently. Dorothy Tutin is superb as is Helen Mirren(one of those women who still does look amazing, always a standout at awards ceremonies). Overall, one of Russell's better films and deserving of more recognition, it is nice to see though that there are people who remember it very fondly. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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