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Savage Messiah

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The Music Lovers. Mahler. Valentino. In these and other films, Ken Russell explores the lives of artists and in turn finds inspiration for his own considerable cinematic creativity. Savage Messiah belongs to that Russell oeuvre and it draws from the filmmaker a work often studied in its pace yet exhilarating in its impact. It is the story of the short, influential career of pre-World War I French sculptor Henri Gaudier and of his intimate yet platonic friendship with a Polish émigré 20 years his senior. Scott Antony and Dorothy Tutin, perhaps better known to theater aficionados, play the two leads. Movie fans will readily identify the third-billed player: Helen Mirren in a memorable early-career role as a flamboyant, uninhibited suffragette.

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