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Lisztomania (1975)

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt attempts to overcome his hedonistic lifestyle while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sara Kestelman ...
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Thor
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...
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Olga Janina
Andrew Reilly ...
David English ...
Captain
Imogen Claire ...
George Sand
Rikki Howard ...
Countess
David Corti ...
Daniel
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Lola Montez
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Storyline

A send-up of the bawdy life of Romantic composer/piano virtuoso Franz Liszt, with ubiquitous phallic imagery and a good portion of the film devoted to Liszt's "friendship" with fellow composer Richard Wagner. The film begins during the time when Franz would give piano performance to a crowd of shrieking teenage fans while maintaining affairs with his (multiple!) mistresses. He eventually seeks Princess Carolyne of St. Petersburg (at her invitation), elopes, and, after their marriage is forbidden by the Pope, he embraces the monastic life as an abbé. Written by Jonathan Dakss <dakss@columbia.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The erotic, exotic electrifying rock fantasy... It out-Tommy's TOMMY.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

29 January 1976 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Fed musik og sex på drengen  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(3 channels)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Liszt (Roger Daltrey) changes into a dress at Carolyne's command, he does so behind a screen with paintings of the 'Saints of Music'. These include portraits of Elvis Presley, Elton John and Pete Townshend, from the rock band The Who, of which Daltrey is the lead singer.

Rumor has it that Ken Russell originally wanted Pete Townshend to do the film's music, but Townshend declined the offer - more than likely 'cause he was exhausted from doing the "Tommy" movie. See more »

Quotes

Cosima: I've polished your sword! What do you want it for, to kill the critics?
Liszt: Time kills critics, my dear.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Music by Rick Wakeman Assisted by Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner See more »

Connections

Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Funerailles
Composed by Franz Liszt
Lyrics by Jonathan Benson
Performed by Roger Daltrey
See more »

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User Reviews

Gives the word grotesque a whole new meaning.
2 May 2001 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

I'm a great fan of Ken Russell's films. What I like most about them is the director's ability (and willingness) to totally immerse his productions into whatever mania happens to be the driving force behind its subject. The results are often excellent, occasionally poor. But never have I seen a film that was, at once, so incredibly visionary and God-awful as Lisztomania.

In most Russell films, fantasy takes on an important role in the dramatic narrative. In Lisztomania, the narrative is virtually jettisoned in favor of fantasy, and not to altogether admirable effect.

Still, any motion picture that can give us Richard Wagner portrayed as a Transylvanian vampire who gains musical inspiration by sucking the blood of Franz Liszt deserves points for imaginative hubris.

Ultimately, Lisztomania is less a film than a comic boot pastiche. Its humor is, by turns, dazzling and lead-footed. Compared to THE MUSIC LOVERS (another Russell bio-pic, this time about Tchaikovsky), Lisztomania is, for all it gleeful, lip-smacking gusto, a rather tired affair, largely because it's metaphors are so pedantic and literal-minded.

I should point out, however, that Wagner's third-act transformation (or should I say resurrection) into a machine gun-toting, Frankenstein-Hitler rock star (yes, you read correctly) is a genuinely


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