Composer Gustav Mahler's life, told in a series of flashbacks as he and his wife discuss their failing marriage during a train journey.

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Georgina Hale ...
Lee Montague ...
Miriam Karlin ...
Aunt Rosa
Rosalie Crutchley ...
Gary Rich ...
Young Mahler
...
Max
Angela Down ...
...
...
Nick
Peter Eyre ...
Otto Mahler
Dana Gillespie ...
...
Doctor Roth
...
Arnold Yarrow ...
Grandfather
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Storyline

Both trifles and structure are tossed out the door by director Ken Russell in this film. Here, historical content matters not so much as metaphors, feelings, emotions, and interpretations, and pay close attention, as every word and frame is intended to be important. The film takes place on a single train ride, in which the sickly composer Gustav Mahler and his wife, Alma, confront the reasons behind their faltered marriage and dying love. Each word seems to evoke memories of past, and so the audience witnesses events of Mahler's life that explain somewhat his present state. Included are his turbulent and dysfunctional family life as a child, his discovery of solace in the "natural" world, his brother's suicide, his [unwanted] conversion from Judiasm to Catholicism, his rocky marriage and the death of their young child. The movie weaves in and out of dreams, flashbacks, thoughts and reality as Russell poetically describes the man behind the music. Written by Jonathan Dakss <dakss@columbia.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

February 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Малер  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cameo: [Oliver Reed] a train conductor blowing a whistle as Mahler's train is about to pull out of the station. See more »

Goofs

When Mahler's train leaves St. Pölten, a sign is visible identifying the town as "Saint Pölten". Yet, the German long script for the town is "Sankt Pölten". See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Gustav Mahler: [reminded of some medications he should take] They won't be needed! We're going to live forever!
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Connections

References The Music Lovers (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

In Stormy Weather
Sung by Carol Mudie
Performed by The National Philharmonia Orchestra
Conducted by John Forsyth
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User Reviews

unconventional portrait
2 August 2016 | by (Romania) – See all my reviews

at first sigh, more a Ken Russell film than a biopic about Mahler. irreverent, to poetic, crazy in few scenes, far by the public image of the great composer. in fact, a great work. not only for the strange biographical accuracy but for the fascinating exploration of a ambiguous existence essence. because each step to the legend is presented with subtle precision. it is not the portrait of a statue but the story of the circle of a man. and the option for the lead role of Robert Powell is a fantastic idea. not for physical resemblance but for the art to define the sides of choices, answers to tragedy, self definition of a young Jew in Austrian society, success and shadows of marriage. a film of his music in same measure, provocative, as each film by Ken Russell, Mahler is a seductive show. and this is the most important motif for see it.


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