Russell’s controversial biography of Tchaikovsky (Richard Chamberlain) is a flamboyant and visually kinetic attempt to match the romanticism of the composer’s music. Though talented, charismatic and handsome, Tchaikovsky’s life was compromised by confusion over his homosexuality. The film traces his disastrous marriage to Nina (Glenda Jackson) and the platonic love he shared with his wealthy patron, Countess Von Meck, a woman whom he never met. “The Music Lovers” is a wildly extravagant film that defies the conservative cinematic traditions of classical biography. Russell was to continue developing his expressionist music biographies over the 1970’s and this film with its astounding cast and exquisite representation of pre-revolutionary Russia is a masterpiece. The music is conducted by Andre Previn and the script is by Melvyn Bragg, based on the book “Beloved Friend” by Catherine Drinker Bowen and Barbara Von Meck.
United Artists Corporation