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Savage Messiah (1972)

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



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


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lindsay Kemp ...
Angus Corky
M. Gaudier
Lionel Shaw
Aubrey Richards ...
Museum Attendant
Ben Aris ...
Thomas Buff
Eleanor Fazan ...
Mdme. Gaudier
Mr. Saltzman
Imogen Claire ...
Mavis Coldstream
Maggy Maxwell ...
Susanna East ...


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


All art is sex! See more »


Biography | Drama


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

September 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Barbár messiás  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


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 »


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.
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Referenced in Celebrity Naked Ambition (2011) See more »


"Fetes' (uncredited)
Music by Claude Debussy
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User Reviews

Too tame for true Ken Russell aficionados.
27 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

Even die-hard fans of Ken Russell's florid style will have a hard time with this one. "Savage Messiah" came at the height of Russell's most creative and prolific period, making it all the more disappointing. The dialog is nothing but non-stop posturing, pontificating and proselytizing. The endless platitudes are as noisy and relentless as the steady din of the artist's subterranean lair. Missing too, are the visual flights of fancy that add color and texture to Russell's films. Only a slight hint of excitement appears in the gaudy Vortex sequences and in Helen Mirren's extended nude scene. Shirley Russell's dependably sharp eye for costume is limited here to drab and dull. Performances are so overstated that the characters never truly come to life, rather, they remain caricatures of non-conformist, artistic types. The film lacks the opposing subtle undercurrent present in Russell's more excessive exercises. Henri Gaudier Brzeska's life story is ripe for a Russell interpretation, but it's oddly mishandled here.

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