Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Ken Russell's Elgar

Whether Elgar's growing disgust with his own "Land of Hope and Glory" was as central to his life as it is to the argument of the film is questionable, but then this isn't really a biography- more like an essay on England and Englishness. Archive footage of the funeral of Edward VII (an endless stream of horsemen in silly hats) and the British Empire exhibition at Wembley (George V and Queen Mary riding a miniature railway) are set against those famous shots of Elgar at three different ages- on pony, bike and driving a motor car laden with dogs- sweeping across the Malvern Hills. There is a false kind of patriotism and a true kind of patriotism. Worcester boy goes up to London, hates what he finds there, goes back to Worcester to die. The camera pans down from a silhouette of the cathedral (framed in Elgar's bedroom window) to the turntable of a gramophone: the music played out, the disc still turning, the needle trapped in the section beyond the grooves.
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