Monday, September 22, 2008

Boo Hiss

For months now, I have been eagerly awaiting the 9/23 release of KEN RUSSELL AT THE BBC, a three-disc collection from BBC Warner that was announced as including all of the director's early innovative work for the BBC. Though any of the films Russell made for British television in his salad days (ELGAR, DANTE'S INFERNO, SONG OF SUMMER, etc) would brand this set as indispensible, word of its pending release was made all the more exciting by the promise that it also would include his scandalous, impossible-to-see Johann Strauss biopic DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS, which was shown only once in 1970. As far as I know, it has never even been available on the grey market.

The Strauss family was reportedly so upset by Russell's fever dream approach to the material that they blocked it from being rebroadcast, an embargo supposedly still in effect until 2019. Since all of this set's promotional copy lists DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS as included, I assumed the embargo was only in effect where TV broadcasts were involved, but apparently not.

That's right: despite what and all the other DVD outlets are claiming, DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS is not included on KEN RUSSELL AT THE BBC. Months of anticipation wasted, and my day is ruined.

I don't mean to discourage anyone from acquiring what is bound to be a most impressive collection otherwise, but if anyone feels like burning their Strauss albums in protest, I'm in a mood to gladly provide the matches.

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