story spends most of its time focusing on the
uprising success of composer Tchaikovsky and his earlier compositions.
story addresses a romance Tchaikovsky had with another man and without
expressing the connection in words that "spell it out" obviously, it
undeniably an important element of the screenplay. The
film tells of Tchaikovsky's emotional
connection to Madame
Nadedja von Meck (who seemed to be one of the few individuals of the
time to be
completely absorbed by the composer's
music) and of the struggle Tchaikovsky
had in coming to
terms with his mother's death while he was still young. The
addresses some of the early criticisms Tchaikovsky
received as well as Tchaikovsky's final moments after creating his
final symphony The Pathétique.
the essential element of the film
focused on Tchaikovsky's
relationship to lover Nina and Tchaikovsky's
inner struggles with himself.
The story is a fascinating one and it is certainly surprising for someone who isn't necessarily an expert in the history of Tchaikovsky. The film explores ideas about Tchaikovsky that are considered historically sound in analyzing the composer yet things are also clearly scripted. The historical accuracies of the film are not going to be perfectly accurate, not only because time hasn't allowed for historians to have a perfect account of every event in the composers life (though an immense amount of information is still available) but because the surrealism used to portray events in the film and the interpreting nature of the screenplay prevents the overall production from becoming a perfectly measured biopic. None of this actually matters in regards to the quality of the filmmaking or the impact it will have on audiences though as The Music Lovers captures a rare cinematic feeling of being a waking dream with half truths and half fictions. The film offers a beautiful display of deeply felt emotions with remarkable direction, nuanced screenwriting, and the exquisite music of Tchaikovsky (conducted by an excellent composer in his own right: Andre Previn).
Richard Chamberlain and Glenda Jackson give terrific performances that elevate the quality of the film significantly. Both performers manage to present their roles with a full range of emotions and depth. The Music Lovers presents a tragic story and both of the lead actors recognize the importance of bringing audiences closer to understanding their characters.
Music Lovers is well
worth discovering for those who haven't seen
the film and it is also worth revisiting for any longtime fans. Ken
a unique style of direction that is an amazing combination of subtlety
visuals that are almost the opposite of a nuanced style but rather
appreciation of life, music, and the harmony that can be created as a
result. Many sequences in The Music
to flow as if they were actually music videos done to the music of
and that manages to be explored rather successfully throughout the
of classical music and creative filmmaking should enjoy the unique
The Music Lovers.
The Music Lovers is presented on DVD in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with anamorphic widescreen enhancement. The film is presented in the best condition possible without extensive restoration work being done. The image has occasional softness, visible grain, and some dirt or print damage that can be easily spotted on occasion. The image is stable for the most part and generally clean with enough sharpness and depth to make an impressive viewing experience even with the minor print flaws. This is a strong transfer in most ways and it surpassed any expectations considering limitations of the release. Fans will be pleased with the end result.
Dolby Digital 2.0 English Language track
presented for The Music Lovers is
more than adequate; it might lack some of the strengths found in a 5.1
sound mix but the clarity and depth is worthwhile in reproducing the
music of Tchaikovsky.
Dialogue is clear and easy to
This M.O.D. (Made on Demand) release is presented on DVD-R with artwork in a standard size DVD case by the MGM Limited Edition Collection.
included extra is the original
theatrical trailer. It's somewhat understandable that a M.O.D.
would contain limited extras so the trailer's inclusion is appreciated.
Tchaikovsky is considered one of the greatest Russian composers of the Romantic period. The Music Lovers presents surprising context that some might want to explore further in trying to analyze the music of the great composer. Is the story historically accurate? In some ways it is and in other ways it is certainly open to debate. The film itself though is superbly made with Ken Russell's dream-like direction and the believable performances from Richard Chamberlain and Glenda Jackson. Highly Recommended.