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
The film not only was banned in Italy but the government of that country threatened the actors Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed to condemn them to three years in prison if they stepped on their territory. 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 »
[blessing the torture instruments with holy water]
We humbly beg of thee almighty God, in thy goodness, bless these instuments thou has created and given to us for our sacred use...
Devils in pieces of wood now, Barre?
[pouring holy water on Grandier's legs]
If they are not driven out, your devils might, by their infernal arts, prevent the torture being as excruciating as it should be. Then you would never confess, and your soul would be damned for eternity. Are you ready to confess?
I have been ...
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1) Warner Brothers removed the Rape of Christ before submitting the film to the British censors.
2) The British censors removed a further 89 seconds. The resulting 111-minute cut is the longest existing version of The Devils.
3) American censors cut two minutes and re-edited another two minutes to produce the R-rated version.
The full 111-minute version was released on video in 1997 in the Maverick Directors series. All other video releases used the heavily cut American version (even UK video releases) in a murky and grainy transfer that was an insult to the film's excellent cinematography and artwork.
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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