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Savage Messiah (1972)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  September 1972 (UK)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 818 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 12 critic

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

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(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
Judith Paris ...
Kate
Edit

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

Henri Gaudier: Ah, you'll like my mother. She's wonderful.
Sophie Brzeska: I thought your mother lived in the country.
Henri Gaudier: Oh, that's my natural mother. My real mother is...
[produces photograph]
Sophie Brzeska: The Louvre! Aww, rubbish. 'Pretentious townhouse full of junk stolen from savages.'
Henri Gaudier: Art is made from art.
Sophie Brzeska: That's not what you said yesterday...
Henri Gaudier: That was yesterday!
Sophie Brzeska: Look! You said, and don't you dare tell me I'm wrong, that today's art cannot be made from anything except today!
Henri Gaudier: And where do you think today comes from, huh? Yesterday. Or ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Moulin Rouge! (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Castaldo March
(uncredited)
Music by Rudolf Novacek
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another Russell snapshot of a creative genius coming to terms with his social environment
6 August 2005 | by (Trivandrum, Kerala, India) – See all my reviews

Ken Russell did it with Valentino, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and Lizst. He made British movies of these non-British geniuses, biographical at the obvious level, with satire and pathos lurking beneath the obvious layer. "Savage messiah" is once again a biopic of an eccentric French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, though not as famous as Russell's three musical composers or the ballet dancer he made films about, yet a gifted French genius (an outsider in British society) who finds a Polish spouse 20 years his senior in real life ("ugly", he calls her in the film), intelligent, creative and sensitive as the sculptor but disinterested in sex. Russell captures the rich world of artist's agents, the rich who frequent art galleries and museums, rich society's rules that give importance of tucking in shirt-tails while appreciating art in museums, the rich copying art and passing the results off as genuine works...

Russell's film captures the brave suffragettes (in the character of Gosh Boyle, played by the stunning young Dame Helen Mirren, who even appears nude) who are not averse to sex and nudity and contrasts them with the lead character of Sophie Brzeska (a charismatic portrayal by Dame Dorothy Tutin), who never takes off her clothes and is openly averse to sex.

The director makes the viewer virtually taste the cabbage in the soup made by the poor artists as the rich agent savors the bad concoction. That is an example of Russel at his best.

The film is a love story--an unusual one. There is sexual energy that exudes in the cutting of cabbages by Dame Dorothy that seems to have been copied decades later in the vegetable chopping by Cate Blanchett in the recent film "Bandits". The death of the artist is captured by still photographs of the World War and his spouse viewing his sculptures in a public gallery.

The film is a remarkable work of two great actors--Dame Dorothy Tutin and Dame Helen Mirren--honored by the British Queen much after the film was made.

Russell and set designer Derek Jarman dishes out a movie that may not be outstanding but worthy of note to any one who appreciates the genius among artists and what they have to battle against in the quest to state the truth and tear down pretensions in society. It is a tragic tale of a genius nipped in the bud. Only his spouse, herself a loser among "geniuses", seems to realize this.


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