In Salome's Last Dance, Russell plays around with Oscar Wilde's banned play Salome, adding a bit of meta-goodness to the whole shebang by making the film about Oscar Wilde (Nickolas Grace) and his lover Lord Alfred Douglas (Douglas Hodge) watching a performance of the famous play in a brothel. The actors are all employees or patrons. And it's no accident that this is also Guy Fawkes Day.
Alfred Taylor, the brothel-owner played by Stratford Johns, announces, "Guy Fawkes wanted to strike a spark for freedom and blow up a Parliament he considered oppressive; you have done the same with your play, Salome... In defiance of the law and in honor of our greatest playwright, the premiere of Salome will take place here tonight, the 5th of November, 1892." Wilde was certainly persecuted for his plays and later for his sexuality, but the real meat of Salome's Last Dance is the spectacle and the sex. It's over-the-top Victorian foppishness complete with r-r-r-r-rolling "r"s mixed in with bizarre S&M outfits, Roman togas, and midget Hasidim. An especially cool trick is that the beginning credits are superimposed onto a book of Aubrey Beardsley illustrations of Wilde's play. And it's also cool to see actors play multiple characters – especially Imogen Millais-Scott's transformation from squawky Cockney maid to Salome herself. (And keep your eyes peeled for Russell himself as the photographer.) It could make a gal reach for her smelling salts, I tell you!
It's really a wonder of the modern age that you can watch some obscure arty stuff like this that is otherwise neigh impossible to find through legal avenues online, for free. So if you enjoy Russell's delicious visions, Oscar Wilde, and the veddy veddy strange, I suggest you click on this link and see it for yourself. If you're really high-tech, maybe you have your computer hooked up to your TV and can enjoy this on a bigger screen.
Get a taste of Salome with the trailer from Lionsgate. Incidentally, I don't know why Lionsgate has a high-quality, non-embeddable trailer for this movie. Anyone got the scoop? I would love to see it on DVD.