Don't get too excited about the Russell short - you'd never guess the director if you didn't know in advance (which certainly isn't true of many of his other BBC films).
There's nothing wrong with it per se
- it's a good, solid introduction to his work, and fully worthy of a BBC Monitor
slot - but its visual flamboyance is entirely courtesy of Antoni rather than Ken.
But it's excellent news that Criterion has started trawling through Russell's BBC back catalogue, especially as the BFI releases of Elgar
and Song of Summer
are out of print.
I actually suggested a Russell Eclipse back when they were soliciting ideas. The obvious choice would be the various composer films: Elgar, Delius, Bartok, Prokofiev, Debussy.........only Elgar & Delius are available on R2.
Not any more, sadly - the BFI's licensing deal expired earlier this year and proved impossible to renew. So grab those DVDs when you can, as I've no idea when/if they'll be reissued.
Incidentally, does anyone know what the situation would be regarding releasing Russell's Dance of the Seven Veils
in the US?
In Europe, it's effectively banned until 2019, as the composer Richard Strauss died in 1949, and European copyright law requires his estate to grant permission for any screenings/distribution within 70 years of his death. And given that the film depicts him as a crazed sex-obsessed Nazi who was only in it for the money, such permission is unlikely to be granted any time soon.
But what's the situation on the other side of the Atlantic?