Directed by Ken Russell

Directed by Ken Russell

6 Episodes

Passionate, transgressive, over-the-top, and unforgettable: the films of British iconoclast Ken Russell have rarely been surpassed in their feverish visual imagination and sheer audaciousness. Courting controversy after controversy with provocations like THE DEVILS, MAHLER, and ALTERED STATES, Russell explored the extremes of sexuality, violence, religion, and creativity through elaborate, often eye-popping mise-en-scène and performances of hysterical excess. The result is a cinema that still feels daring and fresh, with unbridled romanticism and surreal flights of fancy woven into his boundary-pushing narratives.

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Directed by Ken Russell
  • The Lair of the White Worm

    Episode 1

    Directed by Ken Russell • 1988 • United Kingdom
    Starring Amanda Donohoe, Catherine Oxenberg, Hugh Grant

    Pagan vampires, a two-hundred-foot worm, and a profusion of phallic imagery collide in Ken Russell’s typically outré take on Bram Stoker’s most infamous novel. On an excavation in the English ...

  • Whore

    Episode 2

    Directed by Ken Russell • 1991 • United States
    Starring Theresa Russell, Benjamin Mouton, Antonio Fargas

    Ken Russell returned to courting controversy with this graphic look at the life of a Los Angeles sex worker, which, in its raw, unflinching realism marks it as a daring riposte to Hollywood’s...

  • Gothic

    Episode 3

    Directed by Ken Russell • 1986 • United Kingdom
    Starring Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson

    Ken Russell imagines the origins of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” as only he could: with a feverish, hallucinatory excess bordering on the demented. On a stormy night in 1816 at Lord Byron’s ...

  • Mahler

    Episode 4

    Directed by Ken Russell • 1974 • United Kingdom
    Starring Robert Powell, Georgina Hale, Lee Montague

    Director Ken Russell revisits one of his favorite motifs—the lives of legendary composers—in this wildly iconoclastic portrait of Austro-Bohemian symphonist Gustav Mahler. While traveling on a tra...

  • Salome’s Last Dance

    Episode 5

    Directed by Ken Russell • 1988 • United Kingdom
    Starring Glenda Jackson, Stratford Johns, Nickolas Grace

    Ken Russell’s typically outlandish take on Oscar Wilde’s controversial biblical play “Salome” sees Wilde himself (played Nickolas Grace) attending a staging of his then-banned work put on by ...

  • The Rainbow

    Episode 6

    Directed by Ken Russell • 1989 • United Kingdom, United States
    Starring Sammi Davis, Paul McGann, Amanda Donohoe

    Having previously brought “Women in Love” to the screen to great acclaim, Ken Russell returned to the world of D. H. Lawrence with this relatively restrained (by the director’s usuall...