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.
In 1926 the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female moviegoers 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 »
(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 »
Don't look at me! Look at your city! If your city is destroyed, your freedom is destroyed also... If you would remain free men, fight. Fight them or become their slaves.
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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 »
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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