Salome's Last Dance (1988)

R | 87 or 89 mins | Comedy-drama | 6 May 1988

Director:

Ken Russell

Writer:

Ken Russell

Producer:

Penny Corke

Cinematographer:

Harvey Harrison

Editor:

Timothy Gee

Production Designer:

Michael Buchanan

Production Company:

Jolly Russell Company
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HISTORY

End credits state, “The Producers Wish To Thank: Maria J. Peckos, Sam Goldrich, Lynn Dillon, Steve Monas, Rowena Brown, Charles Strickland, Richard Moxon, Nigel Palmer, John Hemmings, Simon Broad, Graham Anderson, Andrew Mitchell, Bob Lee, Bill Kirkpatrick, Cercy den Hollander, Cathy Bell, John Hargreaves.” End credits also state: “Filmed On Location in London and at Cannon Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, Herts.”
       Opening credits list actress “Imogen Millais Scott,” while end credits spell her last name “Millais-Scott.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the film is director Ken Russell’s “notion of the first London [England] staging of the play,” Salomé: drame en un act, by Oscar Wilde, performed inside a brothel with Wilde as the sole audience member. Various modern sources note that Wilde based the play on accounts of Salome in the New Testament books of Matthew and Mark. The play was banned from being performed in England in 1892 by the Lord Chamberlain due to portrayals of biblical characters.
       Referring to the film by the working title Salome, a 29 Jul 1987 DV news item reported Robert Littman as being the picture’s executive producer. Onscreen, Littman is credited as co-producer. Three months later, an announcement in the 21 Oct 1987 Var listed production company Working Title as being attached to the film. However, Working Title is not listed onscreen. A 16 Oct 1987 DV production chart, referring to the picture as Salome’s First Night, listed the start of principal photography as 14 Sep 1987 in London, England.
       The 27 Apr 1988 Var ... More Less

End credits state, “The Producers Wish To Thank: Maria J. Peckos, Sam Goldrich, Lynn Dillon, Steve Monas, Rowena Brown, Charles Strickland, Richard Moxon, Nigel Palmer, John Hemmings, Simon Broad, Graham Anderson, Andrew Mitchell, Bob Lee, Bill Kirkpatrick, Cercy den Hollander, Cathy Bell, John Hargreaves.” End credits also state: “Filmed On Location in London and at Cannon Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, Herts.”
       Opening credits list actress “Imogen Millais Scott,” while end credits spell her last name “Millais-Scott.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the film is director Ken Russell’s “notion of the first London [England] staging of the play,” Salomé: drame en un act, by Oscar Wilde, performed inside a brothel with Wilde as the sole audience member. Various modern sources note that Wilde based the play on accounts of Salome in the New Testament books of Matthew and Mark. The play was banned from being performed in England in 1892 by the Lord Chamberlain due to portrayals of biblical characters.
       Referring to the film by the working title Salome, a 29 Jul 1987 DV news item reported Robert Littman as being the picture’s executive producer. Onscreen, Littman is credited as co-producer. Three months later, an announcement in the 21 Oct 1987 Var listed production company Working Title as being attached to the film. However, Working Title is not listed onscreen. A 16 Oct 1987 DV production chart, referring to the picture as Salome’s First Night, listed the start of principal photography as 14 Sep 1987 in London, England.
       The 27 Apr 1988 Var review stated the film was shown at the Seattle [WA] Film Festival on 22 Apr 1988. A brief in the 11 May 1988 Var reported “a soiree” for the film was held on 2 May 1988 at the Americas Society in New York City by Vestron Pictures, and was attended by actress Glenda Jackson and filmmaker Ken Russell.
       The film opened on 6 May 1988 in New York, as listed in the NYT review of the same date. Later that month, an advertisement in the 20 May 1988 LA Weekly announced the film was opening as a “Special Engagement” in two theaters in Los Angeles, CA, and one theater in Costa Mesa, CA.
       Production notes state that filmmaker Ken Russell “makes a cameo appearance as an outrageous photographer,” in the picture, while the 2 May 1988 DV review identified Russell’s photographer character as “Kenneth,” but “Kenneth” is not listed in onscreen credits. Modern sources note that Ken Russell appeared in the film under the name Alfred Russell, and is credited as playing the character “Cappadocian.”
       Athough the film gives actress Imogen Millais Scott an “Introducing” credit, she had appeared as the character “Mrs. Bee” in the 1987 British feature Little Dorrit, which opened in London, England, on 11 Dec 1987 as two separate films: Nobody’s Fault and Little Dorrit’s Story. Contemporary sources noted that Little Dorrit, was first screened in the U.S. at the New Directors/New Films festival on 26 Mar--27 Mar 1988 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, before the release of Salome’s Last Dance.
       While the 27 Apr 1988 Var listed costume design by “Michael Arrals,” opening credits list the film’s costume designer as Michael Annals.
       A number of U.S. screen adaptations of the story of Salome have been filmed, including: Salome (1918, see entry), Salome (1923, see entry), and Salome (1953, see entry). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Aug 1988.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1987
p. 3.
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1987
p. 23.
Daily Variety
2 May 1988
p. 3, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 1988
p. 3, 44.
LA Weekly
20 May 1988.
---
LAHExam
20 May 1988.
---
Los Angeles Magazine
Jun 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 May 1988
Section Calendar, p. 5.
New York Times
6 May 1988
Section C, p. 8.
Screen International
2 Jul 1988.
---
Variety
21 Oct 1987
p. 179.
Variety
27 Apr 1988
p. 10.
Variety
11 May 1988
p. 36.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Vestron Pictures Inc present
A Ken Russell Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Asst cam
Cam grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Elec
Cam dept, Jobfit person
Cam and lighting by
Grip equip supplied by
Addl equip by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dept, Jobfit person
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Editing dept, Jobfit person
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Prod buyer
Prop master
Stand by prop
Const mgr
Painter
Carpenter
Stage hand
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Addl designs, Jewellery & headresses des and made
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus mixer
Asst mus mixer
Mus re-rec at
Leader [The London Philharmonic Orchestra]
Conductor, The London Philharmonic Orchestra
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd maintenance
Dubbing mixer
Asst dubbing mixer
Sd ed
Footsteps ed
Asst sd ed
Sd dept, Jobfit person
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals by
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Chief make-up artiste
Make-up artiste
Asst make-up artiste
Asst make-up artiste
Asst make-up artiste
Chief hairdresser
Hairdresser
Asst hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod's assoc
Casting dir
Prod coord
Asst accountant
Prod's asst
Dir's asst
Scr supv
Laboratory grader
Laboratory liaison
Unit car driver
Unit car driver
Unit car driver
Unit car driver
Prod dept, Jobfit person
Loc catering by
Completion guarantee supplied by
Prod insurance supplied by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Incorporating Oscar Wilde's play Salome, translated from the French by Vivian Russell.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Salome
Salome's First Night
Release Date:
6 May 1988
Premiere Information:
Seattle Film Festival screening: 22 April 1988
New York opening: 6 May 1988
Los Angeles opening: 20 May 1988
Production Date:
began on 14 September 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Vestron Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 May 1988
Copyright Number:
PA383112
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Equipment
Duration(in mins):
87 or 89
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In the evening of 5 November 1892, on Guy Fawkes Night, British writer Oscar Wilde and his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, known as “Bosey,” arrive at an upscale brothel in the Westminster area of London, England. The butler, Chilvers, greets the men at the door. While Bosey goes downstairs, Oscar goes to the second floor and finds two stages. On a sofa, he sees a copy of his new play, Salome, upon a sofa. Brothel proprietor Alfred Taylor tells Oscar he is sorry to hear that Lord Chamberlin has banned public performances of his latest play. However, the brothel’s courtesans and clients have produced their own production, and perform it for Oscar. When Rose, a chambermaid, arrives with cigars for Oscar, Alfred admonishes her for not being ready for the performance. After Rose apologizes and leaves, Alfred informs Oscar that Rose will be playing the role of princess “Salome.” Oscar comments about Rose’s meek appearance, but Alfred says that if she does not perform well, he could always kill her. As Alfred leaves, Oscar reclines on the sofa and looks at the larger stage as the play begins during an evening at the palace of King Herod, twenty years after the birth of Jesus Christ: Bosey, performing as “John the Baptist,” appears onstage, shackled. Suddenly, a flash distracts Oscar. Turning, he is greeted by a photographer named Kenneth, who informs him that he will being performing the character of a “Cappadocian,” but wanted to take photographs as well during the ... +


In the evening of 5 November 1892, on Guy Fawkes Night, British writer Oscar Wilde and his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, known as “Bosey,” arrive at an upscale brothel in the Westminster area of London, England. The butler, Chilvers, greets the men at the door. While Bosey goes downstairs, Oscar goes to the second floor and finds two stages. On a sofa, he sees a copy of his new play, Salome, upon a sofa. Brothel proprietor Alfred Taylor tells Oscar he is sorry to hear that Lord Chamberlin has banned public performances of his latest play. However, the brothel’s courtesans and clients have produced their own production, and perform it for Oscar. When Rose, a chambermaid, arrives with cigars for Oscar, Alfred admonishes her for not being ready for the performance. After Rose apologizes and leaves, Alfred informs Oscar that Rose will be playing the role of princess “Salome.” Oscar comments about Rose’s meek appearance, but Alfred says that if she does not perform well, he could always kill her. As Alfred leaves, Oscar reclines on the sofa and looks at the larger stage as the play begins during an evening at the palace of King Herod, twenty years after the birth of Jesus Christ: Bosey, performing as “John the Baptist,” appears onstage, shackled. Suddenly, a flash distracts Oscar. Turning, he is greeted by a photographer named Kenneth, who informs him that he will being performing the character of a “Cappadocian,” but wanted to take photographs as well during the informal premiere. Oscar looks back to the stage as John the Baptist sits inside a dumbwaiter and is lowered into the stage “prison.” Onstage, the characters of the “Young Syrian” and “Pageboy” look over to the second stage to a banquet scene in which “Herod,” played by Alfred Taylor, leers at his stepdaughter, Rose’s “Salome.” Nearby, actress Lady Alice in the role of Herod’s wife, “Herodias,” glares at Herod for lusting after her daughter. Two guards appear on the main stage with the Cappadocian and listen to the voice of John the Baptist condemning Herodias as an adulteress for marrying the brother of her dead husband. Salome approaches the guards, wanting to see John the Baptist, but they tell her Herod has forbidden anyone from speaking with him. Instead, Salome flirts with the Young Syrian and convinces him to bring John the Baptist out of his cell. John the Baptist reappears, and Salome tries to flirt with him. However, John the Baptist rejects Salome’s advances. The Young Syrian pleads with her not to kiss the prisoner, but she ignores him. Heartbroken, the Young Syrian kills himself. John the Baptist spits on Salome, but the action only fuels her desire for him, and she promises she will kiss him. Meanwhile, the Pageboy leaves the stage and joins Oscar on the sofa. They recline together with their arms around each other. After John the Baptist leaves the stage, Herod, Herodias, and “Tigellenus,” a Roman ambassador played by Chilvers, the brothel butler, leave the second stage. While climbing the stairs to the main stage, Herod steps in a prop made to look like a pool of blood near the still body of the Young Syrian. After settling center stage, Herod attempts to entice Salome with wine and fruit, but she refuses his advances. Herodias complains about John the Baptist’s accusations, but Herod fears to harm the man because he believes John the Baptist may be a prophet. Salome walks over and eats a banana next to Herod. Aroused by her actions, Herod commands her to dance for him, but she refuses. Herod once again asks Salome to dance, and promises to give her anything she wants. Hearing Herod’s promise, Salome agrees to dance and leaves the room. Meanwhile, Oscar and the Pageboy get up from the sofa and embrace in a corner of the room. Herodias and Herod sit on Oscar’s recently vacated sofa. Salome returns to the stage, and performs the Dance of the Seven Veils. A male dancer, “Phoney Salome,” also appears. Meanwhile, Oscar and the Pageboy kiss before sneaking away. From the stage, Bosey sees them. Both Salomes dance and remove their veils, until they finish and both are naked. After Salome puts her clothes back on, she turns to Herod and asks for the head of John the Baptist. Herod tries to talk Salome into asking for something else, but she continues to ask for the head. Herod, Salome, and the rest of the cast watch as the executioner arrives and is lowered in the stage dumbwaiter. The dumbwaiter returns with John the Baptist’s head on a platter. As Salome gloats that she will now get the kiss she was denied, Oscar returns to the sofa without the Pageboy. After hearing Rose recite the monologue of Salome’s love for John the Baptist, Oscar begins to cry. Onstage, Herod realizes Salome tricked him and tells Herodias that her daughter is a monster. However, Herodias says she is pleased that John the Baptist is dead. Herod walks to the other stage, and tells a guard to kill Salome. The guard throws a spear, impaling her. After she staggers off stage, Oscar applauds. With his body hidden under the floorboards, Bosey’s head remains onstage. Oscar walks over and congratulates Bosey on his performance. Upset, Bosey mentions he saw Oscar and the Pageboy leave during the play. Alfred and Lady Alice arrive out of costume, and promise Bosey that someone will come along to free him from the stage. Oscar compliments Alfred on the production, especially the realistic effect of impaling Salome. Suddenly, a police sergeant and two constables arrive. They place Oscar under arrest for gross sexual indecency and corrupting minors. They also arrest Alfred for running a brothel. As Oscar is led from the room, he notices Bosey is gone. Outside, Oscar and Alfred are escorted into a “Black Maria” police van. Once settled, Oscar informs Alfred that for future performances, Bosey should play Salome, and he, himself, will portray John the Baptist. Meanwhile, the sergeant informs Lady Alice she must come with them as a witness, as they discovered one of the brothel chambermaids was murdered. As Lady Alice enters the Black Maria, she insists the girl was not murdered, but slipped on a banana peel. Oscar and Alfred laugh at her comment. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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