In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.
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Cardinal Richelieu and his power-hungry entourage seek to take control of seventeenth-century France, but need to destroy Father Grandier - the priest who runs the fortified town that prevents them from exerting total control. So they seek to destroy him by setting him up as a warlock in control of a devil-possessed nunnery, the mother superior of which is sexually obsessed by him. A mad witch-hunter is brought in to gather evidence against the priest, ready for the big trial. Written by
Derek Jarman's sets are modeled on the sets of Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927). Ken Russell wanted to avoid the clichéd look of period films and insisted on anachronistic, even futuristic, design. Russell's guidance to Jarman was that it should echo the 'rape in a public toilet' line from the Huxley novel that inspired the film. See more »
Judith Paris's character is referred to as Sister Agnes in the film but listed as Sister Judith in the credits. See more »
Reverend Father, I notice that you don't speak to these creatures in Latin as is usual. Why is that?
They're not conversant with the language. You'll understand, sire, there are uneducated as well as educated devils.
[in a growling voice as she crawls like a crab]
I haven't travelled much.
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This film never got the credit it deserved. It's both a savage socio-political critique in the vein of Millers "The Crucible" and a crazed excerise in Grand Guignol. Only Russell could have pulled this one out. Also features Oliver Reed in one his greatest roles. Father Grandier was Reeds Maximus.
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