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Mahler (1974)

 -  Biography | Drama | Music  -  February 1975 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,371 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 18 critic

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 Here, historical content matters not so much as metaphors, feelings, emotions, and interpretations, ... See full summary »

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Title: Mahler (1974)

Mahler (1974) on IMDb 7.3/10

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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 Gustav
Richard Morant ...
Max
Angela Down ...
...
...
Nick
Peter Eyre ...
Otto Mahler
Dana Gillespie ...
George Coulouris ...
Doctor Roth
David Collings ...
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 Here, historical content matters not so much as metaphors, feelings, emotions, and interpretations, and pay close attention, as every word and frame is intended to be important.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

Country:

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Release Date:

February 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brinnande extas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(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

Mahler: You've already wasted three minutes of my time! Now why don't you do what I do to keep the New York Philharmonic in time: beat it!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brows Held High: The Devils (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Alma's Song
Word by William Blake
Music by Dana Gillespie
Sung by Carol Mudie
See more »

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User Reviews

Mahler is one of Ken Russell's best films.
30 August 2005 | by (United States BOULDER COUNTY COLORADO) – See all my reviews

Yes, you had to have developed an appetite for Ken Russell's visions. Mahler works beautifully for me. I happen to like Mahler's music and historically, Russell, captures the juice of this man's genius.

Russell moves behind the music, into the skin of Mahler, his wife, Alma, and the tragic circumstances that surround them.

Mahler would have smiled when experiencing Russell's image of him. Thomas Mann's book, Death in Venice, is about Mahler, and Russell includes the railroad station scene, with the young boy and the business man, courting a bit, and then the camera, goes to Mahler, who understands whats going on here, and smiles, in amusement. Clever touch for Russell, but is most likely lost on the general audience. Not to say Mahler liked little boys, but his sexual orientation was ambiguous, at best.

Alma was like that, and the officer, whom she was having an affair, was most likely that way? Mahler went to see Freud over this affair in reality. Russell always takes us inside the psychological drama and visualizes, the inner Hell, Mahler feared regarding his wife and his coming death.

Alma had affairs after Mahler's death, and was a star f...ER, and had marriages and affairs with Europe's most brilliant geniuses, for real. She loved bright men, but loved herself, the most, I think? Later Erich Wolfgang Korngold, wrote a violin concerto for her, in Hollywood.

The film's tracking of the creative process regarding the music, is most likely right on, though the little composing hut, was not on the lake shore, but on a hill top, overlooking the lake.

Over all the film is historically correct, and emotionally, shows it as it most likely was for them as a famous couple. Alma did harbor jealousy, and stopped composing her music. Of late a CD has been released of her music and her music is acceptable, but pales compared to her husband's giant compositions.

I would have liked for Russell to include Richard Strauss's music, and their personal friendship. Both composers often talked about their troubles with their music and their wives. Strauss and Mahler are often similar in their musical genius, and understood each other's vision musically. It would have been nice to have the two together more in this film's history.

You have to have a taste for Mahler and Russell, to really get the humor and the brilliance that lies just beneath of surface. At least, Mahler, did not turn out to be another TOMMY...ha Bravo to Ken Russell and I am so glad he came along in my life time. Cast was perfect as well.


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