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Salome's Last Dance (1988)

R  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  June 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 959 users  
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Late on Guy Fawkes Day, 1892, Oscar Wilde arrives at a high-class brothel where a surprise awaits: a staging of his play "Salome," with parts played by prostitutes, Wilde's host, his lover ... See full summary »



(play), (translation), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herodias / Lady Alice
Stratford Johns ...
Herod / Alfred Taylor
Nickolas Grace ...
Imogen Millais-Scott ...
Salome / Rose
Denis Lill ...
Tigellenus / Chilvers
Russell Lee Nash ...
Cappadocian / Kenneth (as Alfred Russell)
A. Nubin
Warren Saire ...
Kenny Ireland ...
1st Soldier
Michael Van Wijk ...
2nd Soldier
Paul Clayton ...
Imogen Claire ...


Late on Guy Fawkes Day, 1892, Oscar Wilde arrives at a high-class brothel where a surprise awaits: a staging of his play "Salome," with parts played by prostitutes, Wilde's host, his lover Bosey, and Lady Alice. The movie moves between the play and Wilde's night. In the play, Herod begs his pubescent step-daughter Salome to dance for him, promising her anything she desires. Her mother, Herodias, objects. Salome is stung by John the Baptist's rejection of her affections. The prophet's scolding celibacy puts him between the expressed desire of age and youth. Wilde dallies with a young man as he watches the show, provoking Bosey's jealousy. Two surprises await us. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

June 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Última Dança de Salomé  »

Box Office


$331,469 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Le Coq d'Or
Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
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User Reviews

Rare, Kinky and Cultish: Classic Russell
10 February 2002 | by (Portland, Oregon) – See all my reviews

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There is never ending debate over the value of work by directors like Russell. He is almost universally written off by professional critics as a mostly sensationalist, tasteless crackpot who's real talent is questionable, yet he is passionately defended by other people and this deserves some comment. Russell's work is often described as "tasteless, vulgar, unrestrained, even misanthropic" and "employing the imagery of sexual excess." One might make a case for the idea that these adjectives describe many fans of Russell's work themselves, or at least that they enjoy these themes in film. The latter is admittedly the case of this author, and unlike many people I certainly feel these are often necessary qualities of good art. Many fans of Russell attempt useless claims that his work is really quite tasteful and not offensive or "over the top" at all, but that would be somewhat inaccurate and in this author's opinion completely missing the point of his work. Compared to normal standards, Russell's films ARE as many critics claim they are, and they will offend people who for the most part should not waste their time viewing his work, and no, offending people is NOT the point of his films, and yes- many nice, healthy, well adjusted people feel his work is fantastic, ingenious and rewarding. Rather than digress into some probably useless philosophical (or political?) arguments over whom is correct or whom is better qualified to comment, it's better that the author's perspective be made clear from the outset. In the end, it might be argued that all ideas about the comparative merits of film or art are pointless, pretentious exercises used to promote arbitrary opinion based on personal taste.

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;When I saw this film (on DVD), I was under the impression that it was much older than 1988, for some reason. I have since found nothing online to confirm this, but I will always think of this film as something from the 1970's that was way ahead of it's time, and it has that feel to it. It included a copy of the entire film with live commentary by Russell himself that I found as interesting as the film itself. It is a simple, low budget film, almost deliberately retro in style. The work is Russell in a nutshell. What a man can do with a stage, almost no money, a camera, a few extraordinary friends (including a passionate costume designer), a love of irony and a profound sense of visual style. The elements are crude, simplistic devices- annoyingly, even deliberately so, like archetypal metaphors, and the results completely transcend the execution. That crucial departure is where many critics are simply left behind and forced to write off the work as plainly bad, manipulative sensationalism (unlike every Hollywood film? this film is NOT Hollywood in any way). I could not help thinking how easily this film could be adapted into a cultish, kinky and funny stage play.

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Examining the psychology of eroticism is a hallmark of Russell and is put to great use in this film. That is not some simple offensive device used in Russell's films, it is the whole genius of his work! Sex and eroticism is the driving debacle of social, moral and religious history and deserves a great deal of examination. People have a crying need for Russell's talent of recontextualizing erotica in order to create self-understanding and inspire it's positive aspects within themselves. In other words, if one ever happened to fantasize about any of the crude scenarios Russell presents in his films (though no one can admit it), one might then find it incredibly beneficial to see it presented in an intelligent, imaginative way by someone else. If these themes interest you, I recommend the film highly.

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Salome's Last Dance" is spectacular only in terms of it's personalities, in no way is (and does not have to be) one of the "greatest" films, yet it is wondrously rare. It is uniquely stylish, and because of it's truly low budget and simple execution, I would say (in direct contradiction of many critics) it is amazingly unpretentious and humble, as well as beautiful.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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