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‘Tommy’ Director, Ken Russell, Dies at 84 [VIDEO]

Director Ken Russell in 2010 (Frazer Harrison/Getty)

Have you watched The Who‘s rock opera “Tommy”?

Ken Russell directed the 1975 film and he died Sunday, November 27, at his home in Lymington, England at the age of 84.

While rock fans may remember the English filmmaker for his adaptation of Pete Townshend’s rock opera, critics know him for his films that pushed the limits of censorship.

Russell received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director for his 1969 film, “Women in Love,” based on the novel by D. H. Lawrence. Glenda Jackson won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the movie.

He also directed “Altered States,” the 1980 science fiction movie starring William Hurt in his first film role and featured the screen debut of Drew Barrymore.

Ken Russell combined classical and rock music in the follow-up to “Tommy,” which also starred Roger Daltrey as composer Franz Liszt. Also released in 1975, “Lisztomania” featured a cameo by Beatle’s drummer Ringo Starr as the Pope.

He explored the lives and works of other composers and artists in some of his other films. “The Music Lovers” in 1970 was about Tchaikovsky, “Savage Messiah” took a look at the life of French Sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and his 1974 movie, “Mahler,” was based on the life of Gustav Mahler.

Russell’s last American film was “Crimes of Passion” in 1984 starring Anthony Perkins and Kathleen Turner.

Other Ken Russell movies in the 1980’s include “Gothic” in 1986 starring Gabriel Byrne, “The lair of the White Worm” in 1988 with Hugh Grant and Amanda Donohoe and “Salome’s Last Dance.”

Here’s a video of “I’m Free” from the rock opera “Tommy.”
\’I\’m Free\’ from \’Tommy\’ (YouTube)

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