Reviewer: ( from Kenilworth, England

                       After over thirty years, Ken Russell's exquisite portrait of the last years of Frederick Delius is
                       available for sale. Those of us who taped the original 1968 production will remember the
                       opening moments in which the young Fenby accompanied a silent Laurel and Hardy film - a rude
                       awakening to a moving production whose other music is exclusively by Delius himself. The
                       Laurel and Hardy copyright prevented the earlier commercial release of this production; here the
                       problem is solved by omitting it entirely. The action therefore begins with the next scene,
                       idyllically by the sea, north of Scarborough, as Fenby (played by the late Christopher Gable)
                       notes down the sounds of nature. The rest of the film is presented uncut. It is a moving work of
                       genius, which Russell claims to be his greatest creation.

                       The DVD includes a brief printed biography of Russell and a full-length spoken director's
                       commentary. The latter is particularly enlightening, commenting not only on how the film and its
                       individual scenes came to be made, but also on Russell's relationship with Eric Fenby - who
                       provided the main source of material from his book 'Delius as I knew him' - and with the three
                       main actors, Max Adrian as Delius, Maureen Prior as his wife and Christopher Gable as the
                       young Fenby. As Russell confirms in his commentary, Fenby felt that it was absolutely true to
                       character. Eric Fenby was renowned in his later life, as was Delius, for the plain-speaking that is
                       characteristic of Yorkshiremen. I was privileged to know him personally and can confirm his
                       admiration of how Max Adrian followed his suggestions to act precisely like Delius. Maureen
                       Pryor's performance had an Englishness that was not entirely in keeping with the character of
                       Delius's German wife Jelka, and Christopher Gable's otherwise profound performance was
                       framed with a Yorkshire accent that would have provoked amusement from both himself and
                       Delius. As Russell remarks, the small budget for the film meant that they were unable to use
                       Delius's original house in Grez-sur-loing. This makes Percy Grainger's trick of throwing a ball
                       over the roof, running through the house and catching it on the other side an amazing feat The
                       original Delius house has a broad opening in the middle going from the road straight to the
                       garden, making the task somewhat easier, though still remarkable. Likewise other aspects show
                       Russell's fertile imagination outstripping the truth. Delius purchased several masterpieces from his
                       circle in Paris, including Gaugin's 'Nevermore', but he did not possess 'the scream' by Munch
                       which the film shows on the wall in Fenby's room. Such trivia pale into total insignificance
                       compared with the inspired characterisations of the performers and the unerring rightness of
                       Russell's choice of Delius's music. The perfection of the climax of 'Song of the High Hills' as
                       Delius is carried to the top of a mountain to see his last sunset is an unforgettable moment of
                       sheer genius. Now, at last, it is available for us all to savour.