Omnibus (1967–2003)
17 user 14 critic

Song of Summer 

Traces last 5 years of the life of Frederick Delius through the eyes of the young composer Eric Fenby


Ken Russell


Eric Fenby (scenario), Ken Russell (scenario) | 1 more credit »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Max Adrian ... Frederick Delius
Maureen Pryor Maureen Pryor ... Jelka Delius
Christopher Gable ... Eric Fenby
David Collings ... Percy Grainger
Geraldine Sherman Geraldine Sherman ... Girl Nextdoor
Norman James Norman James ... Doctor
Elizabeth Ercy ... Maid
Roger Worrod Roger Worrod ... Bruder


Based on Eric Fenby's 1936 memoir 'Delius as I knew him', it traces the last years of Frederick Delius, and Fenby's dedication in giving up five years of his life to helping the blind, paralysed composer set down the unfinished scores he could hear in his head. Perhaps the finest of the series of biographical films that Ken Russell made for the BBC in the Sixties, Song of Summer is an immensely moving story of sacrifice, idealism and musical genius. Written by Philip Kemp

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


The first of Ken Russell's several collaborations with actor Max Adrian. See more »


Frederick Delius: [introducing the eccentric stranger to Fenby] That's Percy Grainger. Sometimes, he composes.
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Featured in A British Picture (1989) See more »

User Reviews

Beauty and sensitivity.
3 March 2003 | by lrrapSee all my reviews

Yes, once upon a time Ken Russell was in control and was actually able to turn out a beautiful and sensitive film bio--how perfectly appropriate here, since the subject was composer Frederic Delius.

Max Adrian was superb and SO believable. I once saw a TV interview with Russell who related that, while filming this picture at the actual site of Delius' house at Grez-sur-Loing, Eric Fenby himself showed up to observe the day's shooting, and broke down into tears as he beheld young Christopher Gable playing FENBY HIMSELF, seated at the side of Delius in his wheelchair, taking down musical dictation. Imagine the overwhelmingly bittersweet shock of that event for Fenby!

Sometime in the early '80's, I met Eric Fenby in Chicago; he was here as part of a Delius Choral Festival. The Film "Song of Summer" was screened--but just barely! The BBC, at the last minute, decided NOT to send the print to Chicago and it was only through a combination of pleading and good luck that they finally agreed and sent it. I spoke with Fenby about the filming, but he seemed to wish to avoid his deeper feelings about it.

Prior to that, I had seen the film in May of 1971 on the local Chicago PBS station. To my knowledge, it is not available in any format, and probably never will be. A great shame.

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English | German

Release Date:

15 September 1968 (UK) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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