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The Devils (1971)

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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(screenplay), (based on the play by) | 1 more credit »
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4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Baron De Laubardemont
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Ibert
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Madeleine
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Mignon
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Father Barre
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Philippe
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Adam
Christopher Logue ...
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Trincant
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Rangier
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Legrand
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Sister Judith
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Storyline

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 Niz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hell holds no surprises for them. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 July 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devils of Loudun  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Spike Milligan was originally cast as Baron De Laubardemont, but he was replaced when Ken Russell felt he could not properly convince in this straight dark role. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie when Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed) is seen grooming his hair. It is a close-up of him supposedly looking at a mirror in the upper left hand corner of the screen, behind the viewer. Obviously there is no mirror as he consistently misses combing the more egregiously messed up parts of his hair and instead repeatedly combs the portions that are already groomed. In fact when he is done, his hair is still messed up. See more »

Quotes

Baron De Laubardemont: I also have a maxim, father: give me three lines of a man's handwriting and I will hang him.
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Connections

References Metropolis (1927) See more »

Soundtracks

Bourrée d'Avignon
from Secretum musarum (1615)
Music by Nicolas Vallet.
Played as the king's dance in the opening.
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User Reviews

 
A shocking work of genius
28 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

My opinion of Ken Russell was, like many people, prejudiced before viewing by the many negative reports about his films. Every establishment film critic I read in the 1980s described him as exaggerated, unrealistic, sex-obsessed and vulgar. As a young man I felt these comments to be confirmed when I saw The Music Lovers, which (compared to Amadeus) seemed in my opinion to lack the requisite respectful period drama feel of a composer's biopic (little did I know that Russell had pioneered the composer biopic). However, The Devils blew me away both before and after reading Huxley's excellent history book on which it was based. It is a stunning and vivid recreation of a repressive period in France's religious history which has universal symbolic overtones, and the lack of realism (if it exists) could easily be the critic or viewer's inability to understand another age of history in the way a dedicated filmmaker can. It is a triumph of integrity, scriptwriting, acting, directing, design (by Derek Jarman, no less) and cerebral and visceral entertainment.


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