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.
Composer and pianist Franz Liszt (Roger Daltrey) attempts to overcome his hedonistic life-style while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner (Paul Nicholas).
In 1926, the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female movie-goers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ... See full summary »
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 »
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 »
Oh, Christ, let me find a way to you. Take me in your sacred arms. Let the blood flow between us uniting us. (moans) Grandier. Grandier!
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In 2012 the BFI persuaded Warners to allow them to release the film on video in the UK. Warners refused to allow the director's cut at all and would only allow the BFI to release the original 'X' certificate version on DVD. Warners refused permission to allow a hi rez release. The BFI produced a superb DVD transfer for the first time in its proper 2.35:1 ratio. The Channel 4 documentary 'Hell on Earth' was included but the 'Rape of Christ' sequence was removed. They also cut a line of dialogue when one of the actors refers to Warners as a bunch of 'c**ts'. Before this in the USA the 'unrated' version appeared as an upcoming release complete with sleeve art. 24 hours later Warners stopped the release! See more »
from Secretum musarum (1615)
Music by Nicolas Vallet.
Played as the king's dance in the opening. See more »
A Beautifully disturbing film
Ken Russell is one of those filmmakers whose work you can immediately identify. Whether your first was "Altered States" or (like me) "The Devils," you learn early on that if Mr. Russell's name is listed as director and/or writer, you can expect to be at least a little disturbed.
"The Devils" is, in my humble opinion, one of the best films ever made. I wish I hadnt been born so late because I can imagine how truly intense an experience it must've been to view "The Devils" in theater.
This film is the only film I've ever seen, regardless of genre, to take the viewer into the pit of hell and to hold her/him there unrelenting, uncompromising, and to make the viewer feel as s/he has actually experienced hell. I can only imagine how much difficulty Mr. Russell must have had when MPAA members saw this film. It's bleak, horrifying, shocking, disgusting and thoroughly delicious. Aldous Huxley (the author of the book on which this film was based) would have been proud to see that his true story of a Satanic Catholic church translated very well to film.
One last thing: I have never really been able to sit through the entire film since the first time I saw it. That is, odd as it sounds, extreme praise. What kind of hell would it be if I could sit comfortably?
Thank you, Ken Russell!
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