Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome: The Eldorado Edition

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More Cameron, and her finest cinematic moment as she plays two roles—The Scarlet Woman and Kali—in Kenneth Anger’s erotic/psychedelic/thaumaturgic Bacchanal from 1954. Ordinarily there wouldn’t be much reason to draw attention to this, it’s been available on DVD and Blu-ray for several years, and various plunderings are scattered all over YouTube. The version here, however, gives an opportunity to experience the film as it was screened in the 1970s.

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Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, like many of Kenneth Anger’s films, existed in several different forms, with the tinkering and re-editing going on for years after the original footage had been captured. An early edit made in the 1950s was fashioned into a version known as “Sacred Mushroom Edition” which Anger screened to acid heads in the 1960s. I’ve never seen any mention of the soundtrack used for this version, or the other early editions, but in 1978 Anger released a new version with the film soundtracked by most of the Eldorado (1974) album by the Electric Light Orchestra. The note on the Vimeo page says the 1978 edition has only ever been publicly screened once but this isn’t the case. My first viewing of the film was in 1990 when the Magick Lantern Cycle was touring arts cinemas in the UK, and I very well remember sitting in the dark thinking “What the hell…is this the Electric Light Orchestra?” The version that’s seen today is soundtracked with Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass, a choice that seems much more suitable. For some time I’d thought of getting hold of the ELO album and running it with the film to remind myself of that initial viewing but there’s no need now that this version exists. The implication is that what you see here is the actual 1978 edit but the footage seems no different from the DVD version aside from missing a few seconds of credits at the beginning. The ELO album came with a cover photo showing Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, a detail that may explain why the Hollywood-obsessed Anger was drawn to the album in the first place.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Brush of Baphomet by Kenneth Anger
Anger Sees Red
Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon
Lucifer Rising posters
Missoni by Kenneth Anger
Anger in London
Arabesque for Kenneth Anger by Marie Menken
Edmund Teske
Kenneth Anger on DVD again
Mouse Heaven by Kenneth Anger
The Man We Want to Hang by Kenneth Anger
Relighting the Magick Lantern
Kenneth Anger on DVD…finally