Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ken Russell|
|Written by||Sidney Aaron|
|Based on||Altered States|
by Paddy Chayefsky
|Music by||John Corigliano|
|Cinematography||Jordan S. Cronenweth|
|Edited by||Stuart Baird|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$19.9 million|
Altered States is a 1980 American science-fiction horror film directed by Ken Russell based on the novel of the same name by playwright and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky. The film was adapted from Chayefsky's only novel and is his final screenplay. Both the novel and the film are based on John C. Lilly's sensory deprivation research conducted in isolation tanks under the influence of psychoactive drugs like mescaline, ketamine, and LSD.
Science fiction film is a genre that uses rtd-speculative, fictional science-based depictions of phenomena that are not fully accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial lifeforms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception and time travel, along with futuristic elements such as spacecraft, robots, cyborgs, interstellar travel or other technologies. Science fiction films have often been used to focus on political or social issues, and to explore philosophical issues like the human condition. In many cases, tropes derived from written science fiction may be used by filmmakers ignorant of or at best indifferent to the standards of scientific plausibility and plot logic to which written science fiction is traditionally held.
A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit fear for entertainment purposes. Initially inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, and thriller genres.
Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell was a British film director, known for his pioneering work in television and film and for his flamboyant and controversial style. His films in the main were liberal adaptations of existing texts, or biographies, notably of composers of the Romantic era. Russell began directing for the BBC, where he made creative adaptations of composers' lives which were unusual for the time. He also directed many feature films independently and for studios.
It marked the film debut of William Hurt and Drew Barrymore. Chayefsky was credited as a screenwriter for the film using the pseudonym Sidney Aaron, his actual first and middle names.
William McChord Hurt is an American actor. He received his acting training at the Juilliard School and began acting on stage in the 1970s. Hurt made his film debut in 1980 as a troubled scientist in Ken Russell's science-fiction feature Altered States, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year. He subsequently played a leading role, as a lawyer who succumbs to the temptations of Kathleen Turner, in the neo-noir Body Heat (1981). He played another leading role, as Arkady Renko, in Gorky Park (1983).
Drew Blythe Barrymore is an American actress, producer, director, author, model and entrepreneur. She is a member of the Barrymore family of actors, and the granddaughter of John Barrymore. She achieved fame as a child actress with her role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). She is the recipient of several accolades, including a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA nomination.
The film score was composed by John Corigliano (with Christopher Keene conducting). The film was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Sound Mixing.
A film score is original music written specifically to accompany a film for the actors. The score forms part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes pre-existing music, dialogue and sound effects, and comprises a number of orchestral, instrumental, or choral pieces called cues, which are timed to begin and end at specific points during the film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the emotional impact of the scene in question. Scores are written by one or more composers, under the guidance of, or in collaboration with, the film's director or producer and are then usually performed by an ensemble of musicians – most often comprising an orchestra or band, instrumental soloists, and choir or vocalists – known as playback singers and recorded by a sound engineer.
John Paul Corigliano is an American composer of classical music. His scores, now numbering over one hundred, have won him the Pulitzer Prize, five Grammy Awards, Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, and an Oscar. He is a distinguished professor of music at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and on the composition faculty at the Juilliard School.
Christopher Keene was an American conductor.
Edward Jessup is a 1970s psychopathologist who, while studying schizophrenia, begins to think that "our other states of consciousness are as real as our waking states." Edward begins experimenting with sensory deprivation using a flotation tank, aided by two like-minded researchers, Parrish and Rosenberg. At a faculty party he meets fellow "whiz kid" and biological anthropologist Emily, and the two eventually marry.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal behavior, strange speech, and a decreased ability to understand reality. Other symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that do not exist, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and lack of motivation. People with schizophrenia often have additional mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or substance-use disorders. Symptoms typically come on gradually, begin in young adulthood, and, in many cases, never resolve.
An altered state of consciousness (ASC), also called altered state of mind or mind alteration, is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking state. By 1892, the expression was in use in relation to hypnosis although an ongoing debate about hypnosis as an ASC based on modern definition exists. The next retrievable instance, by Dr Max Mailhouse from his 1904 presentation to conference, however, is unequivocally identified as such, as it was in relation to epilepsy, and is still used today. In academia, the expression was used as early as 1966 by Arnold M. Ludwig and brought into common usage from 1969 by Charles Tart. It describes induced changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary. A synonymous phrase is "altered state of awareness".
Sensory deprivation or perceptual isolation is the deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses. Simple devices such as blindfolds or hoods and earmuffs can cut off sight and hearing, while more complex devices can also cut off the sense of smell, touch, taste, thermoception (heat-sense), and 'gravity'. Sensory deprivation has been used in various alternative medicines and in psychological experiments.
Seven years later, Edward and Emily have two daughters, are on the brink of divorce, and reunite with the couple who first introduced them. When Edward hears of a Mexican tribe that experiences shared illusion states, he travels to Mexico to participate in what is apparently an Ayahuasca Ceremony. During the walk into the bush his guide says that the indigenous tribe they are meeting works with Amanita muscaria , which they are collecting for next year's ceremonies. The tribe call one of the ingredients of the mixture they use "First Flower." An indigenous elder is seen with Banisteriopsis caapi root in his hand before cutting Edward's hand, adding blood to the mixture he is preparing. Immediately after consuming the mixture, Edward experiences bizarre, intense hallucinations. He returns to the U.S. with a tincture and continues taking it to trigger altered states of consciousness.
Ayahuasca or ayaguasca from Quechua Ayawaska, or yagé, is an entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and other ingredients. The brew is used as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin and is known by a number of different names.
Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, is a basidiomycete of the genus Amanita. It is also a muscimol mushroom. Native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Amanita muscaria has been unintentionally introduced to many countries in the Southern Hemisphere, generally as a symbiont with pine and birch plantations, and is now a true cosmopolitan species. It associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees.
Banisteriopsis caapi, also known as ayahuasca, caapi or yagé, is a South American liana of the family Malpighiaceae. It is used to prepare ayahuasca, a decoction with a long history of its entheogenic use and its status as a "plant teacher" among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest.
When toxic concentrations of the substance make increased dosage dangerous, Edward returns to sensory deprivation, believing it will enhance the effects of the substance at his current dose. Repairing a disused tank in a medical school, Edward uses it to experience a series of increasingly drastic visions, including one of early Hominidae. Monitored by his colleagues, Edward insists that his visions have "externalized". Emerging from the tank, his mouth bloody, frantically writing notes because he is unable to speak, Edward insists on being X-rayed before he "reconstitutes." A radiologist inspecting the X-rays says they belong to a gorilla.
The Hominidae, whose members are known as great apes or hominids, are a taxonomic family of primates that includes eight extant species in four genera: Pongo, the Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutan; Gorilla, the eastern and western gorilla; Pan, the common chimpanzee and the bonobo; and Homo, which includes modern humans and their extinct relatives, and ancestors, such as Homo erectus.
In later experiments, Edward experiences actual, physical biological devolution. At one stage he emerges from the isolation tank as a feral and curiously small-statured, light-skinned caveman, going on a rampage before returning to his natural form. Despite his colleagues' concern, Edward stubbornly continues.
In the final experiment, Edward experiences a more profound regression, transforming into an amorphous mass of conscious, primordial matter. An energy wave released from the experiment stuns Edward's colleagues and destroys his tank. Emily arrives to find a swirling maelstrom where the tank had been. She searches the vortex for Edward, finding him as he is on the brink of becoming a non-physical form of proto-consciousness and possibly disappearing from our version of reality altogether.
His friends bring Edward home, hoping that the transformations will end. Watched over by Emily, Edward begins to regress again, the transformations no longer requiring intake of "first flower" or sensory deprivation. Urging Edward to fight the change, Emily grabs his hand, immediately being enveloped by the primordial energy emanating from Edward. The sight of his wife apparently being consumed by the energy stirs the human consciousness in Edward's devolving form. He fights the transformation and returns to his human form. In the final scene, Edward embraces Emily, and she returns to normal.
The film had its origins with a meeting Paddy Chayefsky had with some friends at the Russian Tea Room in 1975. They were feeling "disgruntled" and decided to make a movie together. They wanted to pitch something to Dino De Launrentiis who was making King Kong. After discussing a version of Frankenstein they decided to do a version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde . Chayefsky went home and wrote a three page "dramatic statement and I have never seen something come together so fast."
Chayefsky decided to write a satire on the American scientific community and the achetypal man in his search for his true self. Within a few months he had an outline for the film, although his original two friends had dropped out of the project by then. Another friend suggested Chayefsky write the story as a novel first and he agreed. He did extensive research with scientists and anthropologists.The novel was published in early 1978.
Film rights were sold to Daniel Melnick, who had greenlit Network while head of production at MGM, and who had a deal with Columbia.In April 1978 he turned in his script to Columbia.
In June 1978 Melnick became head of production at Columbia, but under his deal he was still allowed to produce Altered States.Melnick wound up resigning in October, taking Altered States with him.
The film's original director was Arthur Penn. He cast the movie, including the relatively unknown leads William Hurt (in his first movie) and Blair Brown.(Scott Glenn at one stage was a contender for the male lead. ) Another key role went to Bob Balaban.
Filming was to begin in November 1978. However during rehearsals Penn resignedafter a dispute with Chayefsky, according to Mad as Hell, a 2014 book by Dave Itzkoff.
Penn later recalled:
The only way to conclude that operation was to separate from it. And I didn't know how to separate and get paid for the work I'd done except get fired. I had worked on the film for a number of years, so the technical form was to fire me, pay me, and hire another director. But everything was very open and very clear. Paddy and I had gone to the head of the studio and said, We have an irreconcilable difference about what the picture should be about - but better we confront that fact now before we start shooting. Otherwise, there's going to be a bloodbath.' That was the way it worked. But Paddy and I remained very good friends thereafter.
The eventual director was Ken Russell, who had struggled to find feature film work since the box office failure of Valentino (1977). Russell later recalled:
They wanted a director who has a very visual imagination, and they knew I had that. They were a bit doubtful about my ability to handle actors. I must say, I don’t bother about actors too much. The Warner Brothers people screened two of my films that showed I could handle actors if I had a mind to - Savage Messiah , which was just two people talking, and Song of Summer about Delius. Between the two, they thought they’d take a chance.
Russell later said his agent told him directors who had turned down the project included Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Sydney Pollack, Robert Wise, Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Fred Zinnemann, Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, Brian De Palma, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Boorman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Irwin Kershner, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Michael Winner, Richard Lester, Sidney Lumet, Richard Donner, George Lucas, Nicolas Roeg, Francois Truffaut, and Franco Zeffirelli. He says his agent told him he was the twenty-seventh choice.
Filming was to begin in March 1979 for Columbia with Howard Gottfried as producer.
The film would eventually be done for Warner Bros, in part because the cost rose from an original budgeted $9 million to $12.5 million.(It would eventually come in at just under $15 million with $4 million of that going on special effects. )
There were three weeks of rehearsals in March. During this time Chayefsky and Russell had a massive dispute and the writer left the project. He did not appear on set during filming, contrary to his normal practice.
"I couldn’t work with someone else judging everything I did," said the director. "Chayevsky told me, ‘I’ll just be on the set as a benign influence.’ The producer said, ‘How do you spell benign, Paddy?’ He answered, ‘W-I-C-K-E-D’. He was joking but he wasn’t joking’."
Itzkoff's book chronicles the making of Altered States and claims that Russell, objecting to Chayefsky's interference, had the writer banned from the set. Chayefsky reportedly tried to have Russell removed as director, but by then the film was already well under way, and the studio already had replaced one director (Penn).
Russell said Chayefsky "didn't like the color of the paint on the isolation tank. Then it went on to other things. He didn't like the lighting, then he didn't like the machinery, then he thought I was making the actors appear drunk in a scene where they were written to be slightly tipsy in a bar... There was a lot of embarrassing dialogue, and there was a hell of a lot more in the original script than there is now; it was a verbose script."
Chayefsky later withdrew his name from the project so the screenplay is credited to the pseudonymous Sidney Aaron. Film critic Janet Maslin, in her review of the film, thought it "easy to guess why":
Film critic Richard Corliss attributed Chayefsky's disavowal of the film to distress over "the intensity of the performances and the headlong pace at which the actors read his dialogue."
"Paddy's hallucinations were impossible to film," said Russell later. "He'd write a direction, something like Interstellar gas shot through 5 million miles of universe like a puff of cigarette smoke.' But when I read the script, I realized the picture would only succeed to the extent that it dramatized a certain experience common to all men. And that experience isn't gas going through the universe."
Russell maintained that he changed almost nothing in Chayefsky's script, and called the writer "impossible to please."
"We shot every word that Paddy wrote except for some trifling changes in the Mexican sequences," said Russell. "In fact, I was more faithful to the script in 'Altered States' than in any previous movie, and I think I did it great justice."
"We're saying every word exactly as he wrote it," said Brown during filming. "I suppose the truth is he [Chayefsky] and Ken are such different personalities they found it impossible to work together."
"Ken has been scrupulous in following the text," said Melnick. "Right from the start Ken accepted that he was doing a Paddy Chayefsky screenplay not a Ken Russell screenplay."
According to one source close to the film, "Two strong artists were jockeying for control and, at a given point, a movie becomes a director's movie. You can't stand over his shoulder. You either support him or fire him."
Russell admitted he did not "shoot scenes as he was used to having them shot in other movies he has been involved in. I try to avoid the covering shot, long shot, close-up technique. Instead, I try for long, fluid sequences." The director said he felt Chayefksy had never "been involved with a director who wasn't malleable. He would make suggestions, and I would listen courteously, and then disagree. Paddy hated the lighting, for example, and he didn't like the color scheme of some of the sets. 'I can't use your eyes,' I told him. 'I've got to use my own. In any case, there can be only one director on a picture."
Russell added, "there is a great deal of dialogue in 'Altered States,' and as I saw it, my task was to make those scenes as visually interesting as possible so they wouldn't be swallowed up by the special effects."
Russell also wound up replacing special effects expert John Dykstra with Bran Ferren, who is credited for Special Visual Effects in the front titles, and created the VFX actually used in the film.Dick Smith worked on the effects.
It was the first time Russell made a film in Hollywood. He later said "I thought I would hate Hollywood, but I rather liked it. Everyone there is supposed to be terribly materialistic, but Altered States was the first movie I ever worked on where nobody - not Warner Bros., not Dan Melnick, the executive producer, or Howard Gottfried, the producer -ever mentioned money."
Melnick said the film was "really scary stuff, a huge leap forward from films like Star Wars. And because it has a serious scientific underpinning it's much more frightening than something like The Exorcist."
Altered States grossed $19.9 million at the box officeagainst a production budget of $15 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 86% based on 43 reviews, and an average rating of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads "Extraordinarily daring for a Hollywood film, Altered States attacks the viewer with its inventive, aggressive mix of muddled sound effects and visual pyrotechnics".On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The initial reviews were generally strong. ""It's been a while since I've gotten the acclaim I've gotten on Altered States," said Russell.
Janet Maslin of The New York Times termed the film a "methodically paced fireworks display, exploding into delirious special-effects sequences at regular intervals, and maintaining an eerie calm the rest of the time. If it is not wholly visionary at every juncture, it is at least dependably — even exhilaratingly — bizarre. Its strangeness, which borders cheerfully on the ridiculous, is its most enjoyable feature."She also called it "in fine shape as long as it revels in its own craziness, making no claims on the viewer's reason. But when it asks you to believe that what you're watching may really be happening, and to wonder what it means, it is asking far too much. By the time it begins straining for an ending both happy and hysterical, it has lost all of its mystery, and most of its magic."
Richard Corliss began his review of the film thus:
Corliss calls the film a "dazzling piece of science fiction"; he recognizes the film's dialogue as clearly Chayefsky's, with characters that are "endlessly reflective and articulate, spitting out litanies of adjectives, geysers of abstract nouns, chemical chains of relative clauses", dialogue that's a "welcome antidote to all those recent...movies in which brutal characters speak only words of one syllable and four letters."But the film is ultimately Russell's, who inherited a "cast of unknowns" chosen by its original director and "gets an erotic, neurotic charge from the talking-heads scenes that recall Penn at his best."
Pauline Kael, on the other hand, wrote that the "grotesquely inspired" combination of "Russell, with his show-biz-Catholic glitz mysticism, and Chayefsky, with his show-biz-Jewish ponderousness" results in an "aggressively silly picture" that "isn't really enjoyable."
John C. Lilly liked the film, and noted the following in an Omni magazine interview published in January 1983:
In Ready for My Close-Up!: Great Movie Speeches (2007), screenwriter Denny Martin Flinn called Chayefsky's screenplay "brilliant" and selected Emily's speech as "Chayefsky's last great take on life and love."
According to TV Guide , Basil Dearden's 1963 film The Mind Benders "is the direct predecessor of Altered States."
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards:
"Marty" is a 1953 television play by Paddy Chayefsky. It was telecast live May 24, 1953, on The Philco Television Playhouse with Rod Steiger in the title role and Nancy Marchand, in her television debut, playing opposite him as Clara. Chayefsky's story of a decent, hard-working Bronx butcher, pining for the company of a woman in his life but despairing of ever finding true love in a relationship, was produced by Fred Coe with associate producer Gordon Duff.
Network is a 1976 American satirical film written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, about a fictional television network, UBS, and its struggle with poor ratings. The film stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight.
Arthur Hiller, was a Canadian-American television and film director with over 33 films to his credit during a 50-year career. He began his career directing television in Canada and later in the U.S. By the late 1950s he began directing films, most often comedies. He also directed dramas and romantic subjects, such as Love Story (1970), which was nominated for seven Oscars.
Sidney Aaron "Paddy" Chayefsky was an American playwright, screenwriter and novelist. He is the only person to have won three solo Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay.
The Devils is a 1971 British historical drama horror film directed by Ken Russell and starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave. Russell's screenplay is based partly on the 1952 book The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley, and partly on the 1960 play The Devils by John Whiting, also based on Huxley's book.
The Music Lovers is a 1971 British drama film directed by Ken Russell. The screenplay by Melvyn Bragg, based on Beloved Friend, a collection of personal correspondence edited by Catherine Drinker Bowen and Barbara von Meck, focuses on the life and career of 19th-century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It was one of the director's biographical films about classical composers, which include Elgar (1962), Delius: Song of Summer (1968), Mahler (1974) and Lisztomania (1975), made from an often idiosyncratic standpoint.
Gothic is a 1986 British horror film directed by Ken Russell, starring Gabriel Byrne as Lord Byron, Julian Sands as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Natasha Richardson as Mary Shelley, Myriam Cyr as Claire Clairmont and Timothy Spall as Dr. John William Polidori. It features a soundtrack by Thomas Dolby, and marks Richardson's film debut.
Billion Dollar Brain is a 1967 British Technicolor espionage film directed by Ken Russell and based on the novel of the same name by Len Deighton. The film features Michael Caine as secret agent Harry Palmer, the anti-hero protagonist. The "brain" of the title is a sophisticated computer with which an anti-communist organisation controls its worldwide anti-Soviet spy network.
Megaforce is a 1982 action film directed by former stuntman Hal Needham and written by James Whittaker, Albert S. Ruddy, Hal Needham and André Morgan based on a story by Robert S. Kachler. The film starred Barry Bostwick, Persis Khambatta, Michael Beck, Edward Mulhare, George Furth, Evan C. Kim, Ralph Wilcox, Robert Fuller and Henry Silva. The film was poorly received by critics, bombed at the box office and was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture.
The Americanization of Emily is a 1964 American black-and-white romantic dark comedy-drama war film written by Paddy Chayefsky, produced by Martin Ransohoff, directed by Arthur Hiller, and starring James Garner, Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas, and James Coburn. The film also features Joyce Grenfell, Keenan Wynn, and William Windom. The screenplay by Chayefsky is loosely adapted from the novel of the same name by William Bradford Huie, who had been a SeaBee officer during the Normandy Invasion. The film is set in 1944 London during World War II in the weeks leading up to D-Day.
Tango & Cash is a 1989 American buddy cop action comedy film starring Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Jack Palance, and Teri Hatcher. It was chiefly directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, with Albert Magnoli and Peter MacDonald taking over in the later stages of filming, with Stuart Baird overseeing post-production. The multiple directors were due to a long and troubled production process, that included numerous script rewrites and clashes between Konchalovsky and producer Jon Peters over creative differences.
David Owen Russell is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His early directing career includes the comedy films Spanking the Monkey (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Three Kings (1999), and I ♥ Huckabees (2004).
Savage Messiah is a 1972 British biographical film of the life of French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, made by Russ-Arts and distributed by MGM. It was directed and produced by Ken Russell, with Harry Benn as associate producer, from a screenplay by Christopher Logue, based on the book Savage Messiah by H. S. Ede. Much of the content of Ede's book came from letters sent between Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and his lover Sophie Brzeska.
The Catered Affair (1956), also known as Wedding Party, is a family drama film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by Richard Brooks and produced by Sam Zimbalist from a screenplay by Gore Vidal, based on a television play by Paddy Chayefsky. The film score was by André Previn and the cinematography by John Alton.
Crimes of Passion is a 1984 American erotic thriller film directed by Ken Russell starring Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, John Laughlin and Annie Potts. The film explores themes of human relationships and mental illness. A mix of sex and suspense, the movie opened to controversy over its content and to negative reviews.
Leaves of Grass is a 2009 American black comedy film written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson. It stars Edward Norton as two twin brothers, alongside Richard Dreyfuss, Blake Nelson, Susan Sarandon, Melanie Lynskey and Keri Russell. The film, released on September 17, 2010, is in limited release by Millennium Films. It was featured in the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Set in Nelson's home state of Oklahoma, the film was actually filmed in northwestern Louisiana, which was selected for its generous film production incentives.
The Boy Friend is a 1971 British-American musical comedy film directed by Ken Russell and starring Twiggy, Christopher Gable, Tommy Tune, and Max Adrian with an uncredited appearance by Glenda Jackson. It is an adaptation of the musical The Boy Friend by Sandy Wilson. It was released on DVD on April 12, 2011.
Daniel Melnick was an American film producer and movie studio executive who started working in Hollywood as a teenager in television and then became the producer of such films as All That Jazz, Altered States and Straw Dogs. Melnick's films won more than 20 Academy Awards out of some 80 nominations.
French Dressing is a 1964 British comedy film directed by Ken Russell, his first feature film, which stars James Booth, Roy Kinnear and Marisa Mell. Its plot concerns a deckchair attendant in the run-down seaside resort of Gormleigh-on-Sea who is promoted to publicity officer. In an effort to drum up interest in the town he organises a film festival and invites a major French film star. The event is soon thrown into chaos by the machinations of jealous mayors from rival towns.