"Rather than film Oscar Wilde's play, Salome, as a stand-alone piece, Ken Russell uses the time-honored technique of a play within a play, to present a fictional British premier of the play considered so decadent, the Lord Chamberlain banned it from the stage. Wilde did not see a production of Salome in his lifetime. In Mr. Russell's film, the guests and employees of Alfred Taylor's brothel present a fully staged performance of Salome for Wilde as a birthday present. Within this concept, Russell has each actor, except Wilde, play two parts in the film, one in the brothel, one in the play. Most remarkable of these is Imogen Millais-Scott who, the first time we see her, is a very timid, slightly stuttering maid, but who, in the play within the play, is none other than the seductive princess Salome. Besides having an intriguing face that can look thirteen one minute and sixty the next, she has a melodious, slightly odd speaking voice and intense line delivery. Nicholas Grace is the sensuous, slightly debauched Oscar Wilde, Glenda Jackson commands the stage as a dissipated, but regal queen Herodias/Lady Alice, and Stratford Johns gives a detailed characterization as Herod/Alfred Taylor (the owner of the brothel). Russell himself appears with a fairly sizeable spoken role.There are only two extra features on this DVD: the inevitable trailers (not particularly interesting) and a commentary by the director Ken Russell which is both fascinating and enlightening. Mr. Russell readily describes his creative process, explains some of the choices he made in the film, and relates a few interesting anecdotes about the actors, all the while dropping bits of information about the music he chose for the film and why.This is not an appropriate film for children. It contains nudity, some crude gestures, and sexual situations."
Great if you like Russell, interesting otherwise.
peterb | Pittsburgh, PA | 12/29/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ken Russell is kind of like stinky blue cheese: you either like him or you don't. If you like him, Salome is an essential work to add to your collection.Russell tends to hit you over the head with his hidden meanings, and this is one of the few films where he decides to let the images do the work for him, mostly by sticking close to the text of Wilde's original play. This is to his credit. The production design is lush, the photography surprisingly brisk, although his camera movements (as always) are just plain amateurish.Imogen Millais-Scott turns in an astonishing and bracing performance as Salome (interestingly, she never worked in film again) and Nicholas Grace (Brideshead Revisited) turns in a somewhat boring Oscar Wilde. I don't think I would buy this if I wasn't a big Ken Russell fan, but if you're learning more about this, er, interesting director, this is a good film with which to start."
Please re-release this movie on DVD!!!!
viewer | US | 07/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Please re-release this great movie on DVD so that humble people such as myself can afford it. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Unique Vortex of Oddity!
daveyboy1974 | Arlington, Texas United States | 05/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Much is made of risque film director's, loathe them or love them they are the ones mainstream Hollywood hacks very often "borrow" heavily from. And in doing so receive undo praise for innovention. Ken Russell is innovention personified! Like Cronenberg, Lynch and Alan Parker, he isn't afraid to takes the risks nessessary to make a highly provacative and compelling film. Salome's Last Dance is innovative, provacative, literate and well acted; brilliantly lensed on a miniscule budget (probably the budget of Spielberg's hair products durring one of his productions). Much praise to the lead actress, who's performance is nothing short of amazing! Grace as Wilde is particularly underappreciated in a subtle, yet alarmingly perverse performance that gives Stephen Fry's (in a different film) a run for his Wilde money. Odd, but sincere; bizarre, yet unique; I highly recommend t his rarely seen little gem!!!"
Salome's Last Dance
Shana L. Snyder | New Brunswick, NJ USA | 11/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Salome's Last Dance is a bizarre, yet well-acted film that mixes a campy performance of Oscar Wilde's French-decadent play, witty in-joke quotes, and a nose-tweaking of history, to eventually create a film that while may turn off many with its strangeness, is an interesting homage to the play's author and the period. The performances are wonderful, especially Glenda Jackson's Herodias and Imogen Millais-Scott as Salome. I was a little disappointed in Nickolas Grace's Oscar Wilde, though. He tries, but he's just no Stephen Fry, and his performance lacks a certain spark. The other actors seem equally at home in the forums of period piece and camp drama, and although seemingly done on a low-budget, the film looks great. I would recommend this to any Oscar Wilde fan, as well as anyone who enjoys just plain strange movies."