7.2/10
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30 user 21 critic

Mahler (1974)

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 Here, historical content matters not so much as metaphors, feelings, emotions, and interpretations, and pay close attention, as every word and frame is intended to be important.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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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

Max: [laughs] I can't remember - what religion are you?
Gustav Mahler: I... am a composer.
See more »

Connections

Featured in A British Picture (1989) 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

 
A Masterpiece of sight and sound
7 January 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I must confess ignorance in regards to the works of Ken Russell until just recently. After viewing "Altered States" I was curious to see more of his work and this little gem was the next film to come to my attention.

What struck me first of all are the remarkable similarities between this film and any number of Kubrick's works. From technique to unexpected and striking visuals, and of course, the use of classical music to underscore the action. Though obviously that's a given considering the subject matter here.

I found the film to be simply mesmerizing. Rather than trying to be some sort of historical document on the life of Mahler, the film gives visual interpretation to Mahler's work, and does so beautifully.


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