Original poster for Spanish version of Mahler
|Directed by||Ken Russell|
|Produced by||Roy Baird|
|Written by||Ken Russell|
|Music by||Gustav Mahler
|Edited by||Michael Bradsell|
|Distributed by||Mayfair Films (U.S.)
Visual Programme Systems Ltd. (UK)
|24 October 1974 (Belgium)
February 1975 (U.S.)
Mahler is a 1974 biographical film based on the life of composer Gustav Mahler. It was written and directed by Ken Russell for Goodtimes Enterprises, and starred Robert Powell as Gustav Mahler and Georgina Hale as Alma Mahler. The film was entered into the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Technical Grand Prize.
After a spectacular prelude, the film begins on a train journey with Gustav Mahler (Robert Powell) and his wife Alma (Georgina Hale) confronting their failing marriage. The story is then recounted in a series of flashbacks (some of which are surrealistic and nightmarish), taking one through Mahler's childhood, his brother's suicide, his experience with anti-semitism, his conversion from Judaism to Catholicism, his marital problems, and the death of his young daughter. The film also contains a surreal fantasy sequence involving the anti-Semitic Cosima Wagner (Antonia Ellis), widow of Richard Wagner, whose objections to his taking control of the Court Opera were supposedly removed by his conversion to Catholicism. In the process, the film explores Mahler's music and its relationship to his life.
Some outdoor sections of the film were made in Borrowdale, in the English Lake District.
- Robert Powell as Gustav Mahler
- Georgina Hale as Alma Mahler
- Lee Montague as Bernhard Mahler
- Miriam Karlin as Aunt Rosa
- Rosalie Crutchley as Marie Mahler
- Gary Rich as Young Gustav
- Richard Morant as Max
- Angela Down as Justine Mahler
- Antonia Ellis as Cosima Wagner
- Ronald Pickup as Nick
- Peter Eyre as Otto Mahler
- Dana Gillespie as Anna von Mildenburg
- George Coulouris as Doctor Roth
- David Collings as Hugo Wolf
- Arnold Yarrow as Grandfather
- David Trevena as Doctor Richter
- Elaine Delmar as Princess
- Benny Lee as Uncle Arnold
- Andrew Faulds as Doctor on Train
- Otto Diamant as Professor Sladky
- Michael Southgate as Alois Mahler
- Ken Colley as Siegfried Krenek
- Sarah McClellan as Putzi
- Claire McClellan as Glucki
By 1985 the film had recorded a net loss of £14,000.
- Alexander Walker, National Heroes: British Cinema in the Seventies and Eighties, Harrap, 1985 p 83
- "Festival de Cannes: Mahler". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Mahler at the Internet Movie Database
- Trauma as Memory in Ken Russell’s Mahler, by Eftychia Papanikolaou; chapter in ‘’After Mahler’s Death’’ edited by Gerold W. Gruber, Morten Solvik and Jan Vičar, 72-89. Olomouc, Czech Republic: Palacký University, 2013.