Lisztomania


1h 44m 1976
Lisztomania

Brief Synopsis

A wild and imaginitive send-up of the bawdy life of Romantic composer/piano virtuoso Franz Liszt (played by The Who's Roger Daltrey). Director Ken Russell utilizes ubiquitous phallic imagery and devotes a good portion of the film to Liszt's "friendship" with fellow composer Richard Wagner. The film begins during the time when Franz would give piano performance to a crowd of shrieking teenage fans while maintaining affairs with his (multiple!) mistresses. He eventually seeks Princess Carolyne of St. Petersburg (at her invitation), elopes, and, after their marriage is forbidden by the Pope (Ringo Starr), he embraces the monastic life as an abbe. Often scorned by critics for director Ken Russell's metaphoric interpretation of Liszt's life (in lieu of a more literal one), Lisztomania plays like a trip through a fun house and contains enough symbolism to appease any film buff.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Historical
Biography
Release Date
1976

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 44m
Sound
Dolby (3 channels)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

A wild and imaginitive send-up of the bawdy life of Romantic composer/piano virtuoso Franz Liszt (played by The Who's Roger Daltrey). Director Ken Russell utilizes ubiquitous phallic imagery and devotes a good portion of the film to Liszt's "friendship" with fellow composer Richard Wagner. The film begins during the time when Franz would give piano performance to a crowd of shrieking teenage fans while maintaining affairs with his (multiple!) mistresses. He eventually seeks Princess Carolyne of St. Petersburg (at her invitation), elopes, and, after their marriage is forbidden by the Pope (Ringo Starr), he embraces the monastic life as an abbe. Often scorned by critics for director Ken Russell's metaphoric interpretation of Liszt's life (in lieu of a more literal one), Lisztomania plays like a trip through a fun house and contains enough symbolism to appease any film buff.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Historical
Biography
Release Date
1976

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 44m
Sound
Dolby (3 channels)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Quotes

I've polished your sword! What do you want it for, to kill the critics?
- Cosima
Time kills critics, my dear.
- Liszt
Piss off, Brahms!
- Liszt

Trivia

The "Millionairess" and "Most Promising Actress" as addressed in the concert scene are none other than Madame von Meck and Alma Mahler from Ken Russell's previous films Music Lovers, The (1970) and Mahler (1974).

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

When Liszt (Roger Daltrey) changes into a dress at Carolyne's command, he changes behind a screen with a painting of royalty. The man in the painting is Pete Townshend, from the rock band The Who, of which Daltrey is the lead singer.

the man who seals the door of the "fumigation" room at Carolyne's palace.

The flames of Liszt's piano turn Wagner's sword into a snake.

The "lasers blasts" which destroy Wagner / Adolf Hitler at the end of the film.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1976

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1976