7.8/10
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103 user 111 critic

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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Sister Jeanne
... Urbain Grandier
... Baron De Laubardemont
... Ibert
... Madeleine
... Mignon
... Father Barre
... Philippe
... Adam
Christopher Logue ... Cardinal Richelieu
... Louis XIII
... Trincant
... Rangier
... Legrand
... 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  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,000,000, 31 December 1971
See more on IMDbPro »

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

When critic Alexander Walker published a unfavorable review of the film in the Evening Standard, he and Ken Russell were invited for a debate on a BBC talk show, where Russell confronted Walker with alleged inaccuracies in his writing. Unfortunately the footage has been lost and stories about what happened differ violently. However, both agree that the argument got so heated, that Russell took his folded copy of the issue of the newspaper with the contentious review and hit Walker on the head with it. See more »

Goofs

(around 1h18:30) A few scenes after Grandier has been tortured by having a spike pierced through his tongue, he is shown praying despairingly, with the camera focused on his face as shot through the mask-contraption he had worn during this ordeal. The centre of focus is his mouth and tongue. As he speaks, it can be seen that there's no wound on his tongue. See more »

Quotes

Baron De Laubardemont: I have a saying, too: "Give me three lines of a man's handwriting and I will hang him".
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Connections

Referenced in La monaca del peccato (1986) 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

 
Genius; The greatest film of church corruption ever conceived.
22 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

Cited by director Alex Cox and critic Mark Kermode as one of the ten greatest achievements in cinema of all time, The Devils is based on a true story set in France in 1634 about the evils of the union of church and state controlled by power hungry, perverse men who prey on faith and fear, and one priest, Father Grandier, who tries to protect the liberties and walls of his city, Loudun.

This film was met with great controversy and opposition due to its contents and depictions of blasphemy. Hardly available today, the current VHS release suffers from trigger happy censors with no desire to leave the plot intact. The video translation is appalling, with only a fraction of the resolution and quality of film, and the fullscreen framing mauls at least 60% of the compositions. If you can attain this on widescreen on DVD, you are a lucky person. Unfortunately, as is reflected by another comment on this board, most people see the crappy version and judge the film based on that.


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