Luchino Visconti "Death In Venice" movie film

Luchino Visconti "Death In Venice" movie poster
Visconti's "Death In Venice" movie poster
Tadzio's English white sailor suit...

Living in Los Angeles, California Ron Mael and Russell spent their childhood going to movies at least twice a week at an early age. Later Ronald Mael became involved with Cinema and Graphic Arts at UCLA as Russell Mael was in Theater Arts and Filmmaking. - read more about Maels' childhood...

Luchino Visconti's 1971 adaptation of Thomas Mann's novella "Death In Venice" visibly had a strong influence on the brothers.
In the movie Dirk Bogarde plays Gustav Von Aschenbach, an aging composer, compelled to take a convalescent holiday in Venice. But his escape becomes a silent pursuit after he sees a blonde, beautiful boy, Tadzio (played by young Bjorn Johan Anderson in a non-speaking role), with whom he becomes obsessed. Gustav Von Aschenbach admires the intentionality of Tadzio's costuming, specifically his English white sailor suit. The famous opening shot of Luchino Visconti's "Death In Venice", an extremely gradual fade-in to an ocean liner, established the film's deliberate style.

Luchino Visconti  movies "Death In Venice".
Sparks - First album on Bearsville
Russell Mael's dark sailor suit...

In their early performances Sparks got a miniature ocean liner made out of papier-mache, and Russell Mael had burst out of it wearing a dark sailor suit to begin the show. The ideas of the miniature ocean liner and the sailor suit were obviously inspired by Lucchino Visconti's movie despite Russell's suit was dark instead of the white one wore by the main young character from the movie. - read more about early gigs...
When the first Halfnelson album failed Bearsville label thought the record should be repackaged under the name "Sparks" with a revamped packaging too. So Ron Mael and manager/photographer Larry Dupont designed the album cover with the fake brick wall. It just wasn't as interesting as the original first car interior cover but the pic featured Russell Mael in the famous sailor suit inspired by Lucchino Visconti's movie.
When Sparks' second album, "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing", was released one year later it included the song "Moon Over Kentucky". The intro of this song was written by Ron Mael after seing "Death In Venice" too.

Sparks Halfnelson Bearsville original album Lp cover
Sparks Self Titled Bearsville Album reissue

When it came time to design the very first album cover the band decided to use an old photo which looked like a promotional photo from General Motors of a model in an automobile. The album came out in 1971 under the name "Halfnelson" but didn't have much impact on its initial release...
Bearsville suggested the boys change their monicker and the record company thought the album should be repackaged under the name "Sparks" with a revamped packaging too. - read more about the original cover...

Halfnelson Bearsville album Lp
Sparks A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing Album Cd reissue

When "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing" was released in 1972 Sparks decided to propose an obvious cover with a very classic photography of the band. A photo session was scheduled with photograph and friend Larry Dupont in the basement of the UCLA Ethnic Arts Museum.
Strangely the band decided to put a blurred shot on the front album cover and a "straight" pic from the same photo session was used as Lp back cover. - read more about the original cover...

Sparks became a British band
SPARKS 1969-1973
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the glorious British years
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