Lisztomania (1975)

Lisztomania (1975), written and directed by Ken Russell.

Rock star plays pre-rock star. The fan phenomenon shown was real: see the wikipedia article on Lisztomania (phenomenon).

I guess this is what happened when Russell was allowed to make his own movie without any restraint. We expect the excess, but the persistent dumbness is hard to take.

Quite a of bit of nudity and rude sexual humor, and we have wild fantasy pieces, including Roger Daltrey riding a gigantic penis across the stage to the delight of the female chorus (but it ends at the guillotine -- ouch!)

It has something to say about fascism inspired by art (Wagner is the villain) and the political evil of pop-music mesmerism, although that was treated better in Privilege (1967). The whole effort is feeble and dull. Daltrey's musical numbers go on too long.

I don't remember the dialogue being so difficult to follow in the theater (yes, I've paid twice for this) but maybe my hearing is gone. We have a variety of accented English voices and the sound mix drops them under the music; I'm getting maybe one word in 10. No subtitles.

Score by Rick Wakeman, who appears briefly as the Frankenstein monster version of "Thor".

"First film to be encoded with a Dolby Stereo optical soundtrack."

Warner Archive DVD with a rather good image for a single-layer disc. Needs subtitles, doesn't have them.