Matt Damon-looking Christopher Gable (Strauss himself in Dance of the Seven Veils) plays Eric Fenby, an energetic young composer who volunteers to help one of his heroes, Frederick Delius (Max Adrian of The Boy Friend), dying slowly of syphillis and unable to work. Fenby (who co-wrote and scored this movie forty years after the portrayed events) persisted through Delius’s cranky fits and constant illness, coaxing a bunch more completed works out of him, offering his own advice and corrections.
Fenby is constantly on call in the secluded house with no social life of his own, chatting with Mrs. Delius (Maureen Pryor, Glenda Jackson’s mum in The Music Lovers), reading Huckleberry Finn aloud for Delius to fall asleep. Once an energetic Percy Granger shows up (David Collings: Cratchit in the 1970 Scrooge), grabs Delius’s wheelchair and races it around the yard – but usually life is dull and frustrating.
A visit from Percy:
Back-story: Delius used to be a huge cheater, doesn’t believe in love or church. His wife used to have girlfriends, paint nudes. Delius attacks Elgar and Mahler, among others who would appear in Russell films. It’s a classy picture, handsome and not over-long at 70 minutes. Russell is in tune with the music, films waves and seagulls in rhythm with the sound.