Rant of the Day: The Boyfriend - dir. Ken Russell - 1971 - UK/USA
As a huge Russell fan, I firmly believe The Boyfriend to be one of his most underappreciated (just ask B. who blasted it in his rundown of Russell flicks). It'd be one thing if Russell decided to adapt Sandy Wilson's ridiculous play The Boyfriend into a glorious Hollywood musical -- but that wouldn't be him. It'd also be another thing if he chose to cast supermodel, anti-fur activist Twiggy in her first film role as a gorgeous stage diva -- but that wouldn't be him either. Instead he's crafted a film about some rundown British theatre putting on -- for what seems to have been the hundreth time -- the play, with Twiggy as the coy assistant stage manager who, after the play's STAR Glenda Jackson is injured, also becomes the lead actress in the play. This would normally be the set-up for a conquering-the-odds, "my turn to shine" revelation for the Twiggy character, but it's not. The play is awful, and Twiggy is endlessly mediocre. And Russell, in full Russell mode, glorifies the play's wretchedness with costly fantasy musical numbers and magnifies Twiggy's mediocrity to a level of beautiful campiness. Sure, The Boyfriend is no Women in Love or The Devils, but it's totally one of Russell's tastiest of his lesser films. Watch this alongside Salome's Last Dance and have a wonderful B-grade Russell fest.