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Lisztomania

   

Tonight Alamo Drafthouse launches "Wakemania!," a series spotlighting the scores – and occasional acting gigs – of prog rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman, best known for his tenure in Yes. For Screen Slate, Caroline Golum provides an extended essay on the lineup, including Ken Russell's madcap opening night film Lisztomania. She writes:

"Starring The Who frontman Roger Daltrey as Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, portrayed here as a kind of early pop idol, Russell's film is a decadent and cheeky comment on modern celebrity that interrogates the notion of 'God-given' talent and satirizes the false delineation between public and private lives. Prog rock's cherry-picking approach to Western folklore has a perfect cinematic counterpart in this loopy saga, which wantonly pairs real-life legends Richard Wagner and Hector Berlioz with cameos from a Nietzschean 'Superman' and Norse thunder god Thor (played by Wakeman himself). The signature Russell marriage between arch political commentary and grotesque bodily slapstick is buoyed by Wakeman's arrangements of universally-beloved Liszt melodies and supplemented by rock-opera worthy lyrics courtesy of the director and his feather-haired leading man."

Read the full piece here.

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