This award-winning 1981 film is a revealing and moving portrait of the great composer. Supported by archive material, extracts from many of his works, and interviews with Lady Susana Walton, Laurence Olivier and Sacheverell Sitwell, Walton reflects on his journey from Oldham in Lancashire to his island home on Ischia in Italy, where he died in 1983.
Interesting Insight of an Unlikely Genius
- William Walton: At the Haunted End of the Day review by CV
As Laurence Olivier observes, it is extraordinary that such music of power and romantic intensity should have emerged from the head of this unlikely genius. Born in relative poverty, went to a rough school, admitted as a chorister by grace, youngest undergraduate of Oxford University since Henry VIII, dropped out and "scrounged" off richer friends, clumsy at playing musical instruments and turned to composition to justify his existence! Hear the music and you will agree with his wife, Susana, that his life and career had a kind of divine inevitability about it. The opening scene shows him at his piano, complaining about the variety of spectacles he has and pointing out where his most important composing device - the eraser - is situated for use! So much said by so little.