View Full Version : Ken Russell's THE DEVILS (1971)
06-01-2004, 10:15 PM
Anyone here have any thoughts on Ken Russell's controversial, blasphemous thriller THE DEVILS? (POSSIBLE SPOILERS.)
Oliver Reed as a pre-Renaissance French priest whose personal indulgences and scandals might be less than holy...
The great Vanessa Redgrave as a disfigured nun so infatuated with him that she bitterly accuses him of ravaging her as a means of purging her own sexual guilt (WILD THINGS, anyone?)...
Hallucinatory dream/fantasy sequences, orgies, sex with Christ-figures, McCarthyism/CRUCIBLE-esque finger-pointing and paranoia, apocalyptic public executions...?
Surely not for everyone's taste, but this is still a wildly imaginative, daring film that wreaks of Ken Russell's hit-or-miss directorial trademarks. Reed and Redgrave do some of their best work ever here, and given its subject matter and time of release, some have found it a worthy precursor to THE EXORCIST. The film originally underwent substantial edits to avoid an X-rating, and to this day, it seems that no unabridged or 2.35:1 letterboxed version has ever been made available in any country.
An industry rumor in late 2002 claimed that an uncut version of the film would finally be made available in British markets, but I personally have heard or seen nothing come of that since. (I'd love to know if any of the UK posters here at the forums ever saw that come to fruition, or are we all still waiting for this film to finally be shown how it was intended to be.)
Any of the good folks here interested or have any comments on this flick?
06-02-2004, 10:14 PM
I aired this once when I used to have a different job at a tv/film company that I am still with. I thought it was very cool but definately will not be for everyone (most?) who roam these forums. I am seriously considering getting this although there, in fact, seems to be a lot of varying info as to what is the true full running time. Maybe I should begin to investigate....
06-02-2004, 11:27 PM
Wow! That's awesome that you got to be involved in an actual broadcast of it. Yes, it would be nice to know how long it actually was before any edits. The Leonard Maltin review book insists that the original unabridged version was 121 minutes, but I'd be willing to bet that even that is questionable in terms of NTSC/PAL conversion variables. Hmm...
06-05-2004, 12:27 PM
the censored bits were shown on a UK Channel 4 documentary, but Warner UK refuse to restore the film.
06-05-2004, 10:59 PM
I can't wait for this to be released. This is by far Ken Russell's best film. Derek Jarman is responsible for the art direction for this one too!
06-06-2004, 04:44 AM
I really wish this would come to DVD. I had a friend loan me a shitty boot of it and the film absolutely floored me. I'm a huge Oliver Reed fan because of it.
06-06-2004, 10:48 AM
Great film. My best friend told me about it around 10 years ago. I had never heard of it before that time. I rented it and loved it, Oliver Reed was great as usual. I too wish there was a DVD release out there for this great overlooked film.
07-04-2004, 12:24 PM
I am big fan of "The Devils" (and Oliver Reed), and the latest I heard about this movie (and potential DVD release) was that Mark Kermode (the guy who did the documentary of "The Exorcist" for the BBC) was trying to get Warner Brothers to release this movie in it's original form with the deleted footage put back in the film (which apparently includes scenes of the nuns having a blasphemous orgy). It looks like Warner Brothers doesn't have any intention of releasing the film with this footage put back in. In fact, I don't know of any release for this film on DVD at all from Warner Brothers. I did write the folks over at Criterion and suggested that they look into releasing it on DVD. The only version I've seen is the VHS version that i purchased from Amazon.com. I would love to see the missing footage!
Evil Dead Guy
07-06-2004, 07:20 AM
I also love this film , best film by Ken Russell in my opinion. I know that The Devils will be released sometime on Warner Bros. , as it says here -http://www.mondo-digital.com/mondoupdate.html .
Keeping my fingers crossed !
Evil Dead Guy
07-06-2004, 07:22 AM
07-06-2004, 02:22 PM
Believe it or not, this film was introduced to me but an English professor at University of South Florida. I took a class called horror and terror literature. Awesome class!! Awesome teacher!! She had us watch this and The Town that Dreaded Sundown. If more classes in college were like that, I would have had straight A's!!
07-06-2004, 02:28 PM
It seems like it will still be a long time away, yet. Hopefully, there will at least be a disc from a different region. Does anyone here have a copy with that deleted footage?
That was some cool info, Lionheart. And I great idea concerning Criterion. This film would be right up its alley.
07-16-2004, 05:28 PM
Apparently this films was once more heavily cut than it is at present. The following is a list of what had been cut for a censored US release:
Grandier (Oliver Reed) drives doctors away from dying woman loses some of hers screams and a little nudity.
Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave) dream of Grandier as Christ does not show her licking Christ's wounds, clasped hands by a crown of thorns and some of the lovemaking scene.
Shots of Jeanne masturbating and two shots of her whipping herself have been removed.
A nude Phillipe (Georgina Hale) brought before Laubardemont (Dudley Sutton) has lost the pubic hair.
An enema of Jeanna on the altar does not show the insertion of a syringe between her legs.
Shots of nuns stripping and one vomiting have vanished
the King's visit to Loudon has lost vomit and pubic hair along with a nun masturbating with a candle and an enema.
A needle is Grandier's tongue has been cut.
Whilst Laubardem collects statements against Grandier, we miss naked nuns kissing and caressing.
The shot of a nun's hanging body been taken down has been cut to remove nudity.
The torture of Grandier has lost 4 hammer blows and a shot of his bloody legs.
As Grandier crawls to the stake, kicks by Barre (Michael Gothard) have been deleted
The burning of Grandier has been reduced
Jeanne inserting a purging device between her legs is no more.
This has all been restored but I would love to see a COMPLETE version as Ken Russell intended. It is by far one of the most interesting and dramatic movies that I have ever seen!
07-22-2004, 08:20 PM
I thought I would post this (check it out):
07-27-2004, 06:19 AM
I have a really nice NTSC 16x9 WS DVD-R I made from the WS PAL UK tape that Warner Bros put out a few years ago (now out-of-print as I understand it). It is the most complete version ever released ... not 100% uncut of course ... but longer than any of the US versions.
I'm happy for now with this but would definately get an official remastered DVD release ... as long as it is this version ... or longer!
Well one can wish hehehe :)
- John "FulciLives" Coleman
07-27-2004, 06:22 AM
How did you make an anamorphic dvd-r from a tape?
07-27-2004, 07:14 AM
I've got skills and over 4,000 posts on VIDEOHELP.COM (http://www.videohelp.com/) :)
- John "FulciLives" Coleman
07-27-2004, 07:30 AM
This sounds like a great movie. I'm gonna have to find a way to rent it. :)
07-27-2004, 08:15 AM
Well I am willing to trade if anyone is interested :)
- John "FulciLives" Coleman
07-27-2004, 03:08 PM
Mario I just read your post. I too dig Russel but didn't knew that the great late Jarman did art direction in this!
This is SOOOOOO cool.
Gotta have this on DVD, my greek VHS is beyond repair.
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