'Salome's Last Dance,' a minor masterpiece directed by Ken Russell, one of the more sex- and faith-obsessed of British cinema's bad-boys, was released in 1988 and, while he has worked on a slew of film projects in the 20 years since then, this one, for all of its narrative and visual quirkiness, remains a testimonial to the director's idiosyncratic style. That's why 'Salome's Last Dance' is our pick for movie of the day. 'Salome's Last Dance,' a minor masterpiece directed by Ken Russell, one of the more sex- and faith-obsessed of British cinema's bad-boys, was released in 1988 and, while he has worked on a slew of film projects in the 20 years since then, this one, for all of its narrative and visual quirkiness, remains a testimonial to the director's idiosyncratic style. That's why 'Salome's Last Dance' is our pick for movie of the day.

The film includes tremendous swaths of Oscar Wilde's 1893 play 'Salome,' but situates it within a clever framing device: Wilde (shrewdly and shrewishly played by Nickolas Grace) is accompanied by his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas (a youngish, boyish Douglas Hodge), to a brothel.

There, a staging of Wilde's play unexpectedly gets underway. That the visit of the great playwright takes place on Guy Fawkes Day -- honoring the man who attempted to blow up the British Parliament -- should be viewed as a gesture of pure poetic irony.

Russell now proceeds to paint his whimsical scenario with a coat of metatheatrical varnish. Each of the actors in the film -- but not Grace -- double up in some 'Salome' role, beginning with Hodge as John the Baptist, whose pretty head Salome famously comes to demand. There's also a superlative turn by the timeless Glenda Jackson as Herodias and the now-obscure Imogen Millais-Scott looking sultry and fetching in the title role.

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