In the 1920s, Eric Fenby, a quiet church organist and devout Catholic, offers his services as amanuensis to the great composer Frederick Delius, who is dying in France. His years with Delius prove shattering.
This was amongst the most renowned - and is perhaps the best - of all the films Ken Russell made for the BBC. Max Adrian's towering performance as the arrogant, impossible Delius is matched by that of first-time actor Christopher Gable (previously a dancer and choreographer) as Fenby, whose help in the composer's declining years allowed Delius to complete the composition that gives this film its title. The real Eric Fenby, who suffered a prolonged nervous breakdown after Delius's death, was still alive when this film was made, and collaborated with Russell on the script. There are memorable images - Jelka Delius strewing rose-petals over her husband's corpse makes an unforgettable ending - and one is left with a sharp awareness of the bitter sacrifices necessary to allow genius to create.
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