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Arts documentary series with concerts and experimental dramatizations.
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10 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Monitor (TV Series 1958)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Arts magazine.

Stars: Huw Wheldon, John Berger, Jonathan Miller
Il Mefistofele (TV Movie 1989)
Drama | Fantasy | Musical
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Arrigo Boito's Il Mefestefele was first performed in 1868 and his most known work. In Ken Russell's modern interpretation presented by the Genoese Opera, it has Faust as an ageing hippy. He... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Paata Burchuladze, Ottavio Garaventa, Adriana Morelli
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
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Rock star Roddy Usher's wife is murdered and Rod is sent to a lunatic asylum in this gothic-comedy-horror-musical.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: James Johnston, Lisi Tribble, Marie Findley
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Piano teacher Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky struggles against his homosexuality by marrying, but unfortunately he chooses a nymphomaniac whom he cannot satisfy.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After placing his ailing wife Alice (Gemma Jones) in a care home elderly academic James Parkin (Sir John Hurt) goes to stay at a wintry out-of-season hotel which they used to visit together... See full summary »

Director: Andy De Emmony
Stars: John Hurt, Gemma Jones, Lesley Sharp
Omnibus (1952–1961)
Drama | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Starting out as a live show from New York City, "Omnibus" was hosted by Alastair Cooke and featured everything from discussions about science and the arts, to original works by such ... See full summary »

Stars: Alistair Cooke, Leonard Bernstein, Joseph N. Welch
Isadora (TV Movie 1966)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The outrageous life of the American dancer of the 1920s, Isadora Duncan, whom Ken Russell described as "part genius and part charlatan".

Director: Ken Russell
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Faust (TV Movie 1985)
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An epic tale of good versus evil, Faust sells his soul to the devil and tries to save Marguerite from an eternity in hell.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Francisco Araiza, Ruggero Raimondi, Gabriela Benacková
Mahler (1974)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Composer Gustav Mahler's life, told in a series of flashbacks as he and his wife discuss their failing marriage during a train journey.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Robert Powell, Georgina Hale, Lee Montague
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Biographical film of the life of French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Dorothy Tutin, Scott Antony, Helen Mirren
The Planets (TV Movie 1983)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Based on the famous Gustav Holst musical suite, this musical film takes watchers on a magnificent journey of the planets of the Solar System.

Director: Ken Russell
Drama

A pair of troubled marriages become intertwined via philandering mates and the maverick therapist they encounter during an intense counseling session. A weekend at the therapist's cabin retreat brings forth struggle, hope, and a secret journey to the brink of death.

Director: Jennifer Tadlock
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Humphrey Burton Humphrey Burton ...  Himself - Presenter / ... 10 episodes, 1975-1991
David Collings ...  Father / ... 5 episodes, 1967-1990
Michael Hordern ...  Narrator / ... 5 episodes, 1968-1975
Terry Gilliam ...  Himself 5 episodes, 1976-2000
Kirsty Wark Kirsty Wark ...  Herself - Narrator / ... 4 episodes, 2001
Henry Livings Henry Livings ...  Himself / ... 4 episodes, 1967-1971
Michael Gough ...  Astronaut / ... 4 episodes, 1969-1981
Stephen Fry ...  Himself / ... 4 episodes, 1986-2001
Ninette de Valois Ninette de Valois ...  Herself 4 episodes, 1968-1983
Robin Ray Robin Ray ...  Himself / ... 4 episodes, 1968-1973
John Gielgud ...  Himself 5 episodes, 1969-1994
Peter Hall ...  Himself 4 episodes, 1970-1994
André Previn ...  Himself 6 episodes, 1973-2001
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Storyline

Arts documentary series with concerts and experimental dramatizations.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1967 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Connections

Edited into Omnibus: John Barry: Licence to Thrill (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Save Gilbert and Sullivan now!
10 September 1999 | by alice liddellSee all my reviews

For a good while now, there have been persistant fears in Britain about both the declining quality, and quantity, of arts-based programmes on television. This is undoubtedly true (note the South Bank Show's humiliating ratings-chasing decline), and OMNIBUS itself is hardly the force it was a couple of decades ago (a recent edition concerned British sitcoms, like they aren't dissected every two minutes in this culture), although it can still spring surprises, like the Jean Renoir double-programme about five years ago. Last night I saw an edition called 'Gilbert and Sullivan: Instant Merriment', which was one such treat.

It wasn't specifically about the duo per se, but a Gilbert and Sullivan obsessive and businessman, Ian Smith, who, sensing a decline in G&S appreciation since the disbanding of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1982 (whose raison d'etre was to stage specifically the Savoy Operas), tried to revivify interest by setting up a G&S International Festival, in 1997, in the US and Britain.

The brilliance of the programme was the way it set up and moved from the buzz and elation of putting on the festival, the sight (and sound) of different American amateur companies performing these sublime works, or devotees singing choruses on buses to the bewilderment of natives, or pretentious, prolix Anglophiles marvelling at English 'refinement', to the melancholy reality of lack of interest, poor ticket sales, gradual (though denied) disillusionment.

There is little attempt to explain why G&S could be relevant today - most people talk about their jolly good fun, or, at best, 'gentle satire'. But G&S are savage: the music makes use of sophisticated, subversive pastiche, parody and irony; while Gilbert's lyrics can be brutal, bitter, nasty, cruel, mocking, and laceratingly satiric behind the polished verse. There is little sympathy with authority, repression, hypocrisy, double-talk, stereotypes or the cult of mother-love.

As well as being a brilliant, furious attack on the British establishment, The Mikado, for example, is the first post-colonial critique, perceptively noting the repressive systems of signification behind British (and Western) Orientalism. Why do you think Mike Leigh is making a film about them? One pioneering producer has sensed this, and we see some of her intriguing modern-dress versions of G&S, set in Northern mills etc., which politicise G&S to the horror of old school connoisseurs.

It is these fuddy-duddy relics who are responsible for G&S's decline. For them, the Savoy Operas are a cosy, unchanged, untroubled Victorian idyll; their biggest proponents seem to be clergymen, businessmen, and silly Americans. Too many old fogeys reminisce Rowley Birkin, QC-style about the dear things, and you feel, to your horror, that you're turning into your grandparents because you adore G&S. One similarly-minded critic bemoans this 'ossified' treatment, suggesting an injection of new blood with the use of comedians such as Stephen Fry or Harry Enfield. An intriguing idea (why stop there - what about a SOUTH PARK Mikado?), but one thing is for sure: Gilbert would have poured moulten scorn on the timid little minds seeking to make respectable his name.


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