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Elgar: Fantasy of a Composer on a Bicycle (2002)

Ken Russell revisits the life of Elgar, with musical background provided by the composer's works.

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Ken Russell revisits the life of Elgar, with musical background provided by the composer's works.

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Beautifully shot and fascinating
9 February 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ken Russell is not for everybody, and my view of him and his work has been somewhat of a mixed bag. There has been some stuff of his I liked very much, especially Mahler though even that had touches that some are not going to like, but others that I've not cared for, like his 1985 staging of Faust. Elgar: Fantasy of a Composer on a Bicycle is not his best or one of them, and I do think his 1960s work of the composer was better, but a long way from his worst. I do agree that it does get monotonous in places in pacing and in some of the sequences(especially the couple standing by the window), and the women's appearances are too come and go. Elgar: Fantasy of a Composer on a Bicycle is shot beautifully though, the period detail is lovingly evocative and the scenery is every bit as magical. The music is glorious and always fitting, and the Isle of Wight honeymoon sequence is just enchanting. The lack of dialogue was a good idea I think, the body language tells so much even without it, while the biographical elements are fascinating and for Russell thankfully restrained in tone. Overall, while not always consistent and securely paced, Elgar: Fantasy of a Composer on a Bicycle was fascinating and beautiful to look at. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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