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Encyclopedia > The Devils (film)
The Devils
Directed by Ken Russell
Produced by Ken Russell
Robert H. Solo
Written by Ken Russell
Aldous Huxley (book)
John Whiting(play)
Starring Oliver Reed
Vanessa Redgrave
Dudley Sutton
John Woodvine
Gemma Jones
Music by Peter Maxwell Davies
Cinematography David Watkin
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) 16 July 1971 (U.S.)
Running time 111 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
IMDb profile

The Devils is a 1971 film directed by Ken Russell and starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave, based on the 1952 book The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley and the 1960 play The Devils by John Whiting, also based on Huxley's book. Derek Jarman was responsible for the film's production design. It tells the story of Urbain Grandier, a 17th century French priest executed for witchcraft. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Image File history File links The_Devils. ... Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell, known as Ken Russell (born July 3, 1927), is an iconoclastic English film director, particularly well-known for his films about famous composers and his controversial, often outrageous pioneering work in film. ... Aldous Leonard Huxley (July 26, 1894 – November 22, 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. ... John Whiting was an English dramatist and critic. ... Robert Oliver Reed (February 13, 1938 – May 2, 1999) was an English actor known for his macho image on and off screen. ... Vanessa Redgrave, CBE (born 30 January 1937) is an Academy Award winning English actress and member of the Redgrave family, one of the enduring theatrical dynasties. ... Dudley Sutton (born April 6, 1933 in Surrey, England) is a British actor. ... John Woodvine in the Doctor Who serial The Armageddon Factor John Woodvine (born 21 July 1929 in Tyne Dock, County Durham) is a British actor who has appeared in over sixty film and television roles. ... Gemma Jones (born December 4, 1942) is an English character actress on both stage and screen. ... Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE (b. ... David Watkin (March 23, 1925, Margate, UK - ) is an influential British cinematographer who was among the first directors of photography to experiment heavily with the usage of bounce light as a soft light source. ... “WB” redirects here. ... is the 197th day of the year (198th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... See also: 1970 in film 1971 1972 in film 1970s in film years in film film // Events February 8 - Bob Dylans hour long documentary film, Eat the Document, premieres at New Yorks Academy of Music. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... See also: 1970 in film 1971 1972 in film 1970s in film years in film film // Events February 8 - Bob Dylans hour long documentary film, Eat the Document, premieres at New Yorks Academy of Music. ... This article is about motion pictures. ... Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell, known as Ken Russell (born July 3, 1927), is an iconoclastic English film director, particularly well-known for his films about famous composers and his controversial, often outrageous pioneering work in film. ... Robert Oliver Reed (February 13, 1938 – May 2, 1999) was an English actor known for his macho image on and off screen. ... Vanessa Redgrave, CBE (born 30 January 1937) is an Academy Award winning English actress and member of the Redgrave family, one of the enduring theatrical dynasties. ... The Devils Of Loudun (1952) is a novel by Aldous Huxley. ... Aldous Leonard Huxley (July 26, 1894 – November 22, 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. ... John Whiting was an English dramatist and critic. ... Derek Jarman Derek Jarman (January 31, 1942 – February 19, 1994) was an English film director, stage designer, artist, and writer. ... Urbain Grandier Urbain Grandier (1590 - 18 August 1634) was a French Catholic priest who was executed on charges of seduction and witchcraft in 1634. ... Witch redirects here. ...

Contents

Plot

(Note: The following plot is of the censored version of the film, and certain scenes are not present)


In 17th Century France, Cardinal Richelieu (Christopher Logue) is influencing Louis XIII (Graham Armitage) in an attempt to gain further power. He convinces Louis that the fortifications of cities throughout France should be demolished to prevent Protestants from uprising. Louis agrees, but forbids Richelieu from damaging the town of Loudun, having made a promise to its governor not to damage the town. Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (September 9, 1585 – December 4, 1642), was a French clergyman, noble, and statesman. ... Christopher Logue (born Portsmouth, 1926) is an English poet associated with the British Poetry Revival. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Protestantism encompasses the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the doctrines of the Reformation. ... Loudun is a small town and commune of approximately 9,000 inhabitants in the Vienne département of France. ...


Meanwhile, in Loudun, the Governor has died, leaving control of the city to Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), a dissolute and proud but popular and well-regarded priest. He is having an affair with a relative of Father Canon Mignon, another priest in the town, unaware that the deformed, neurotic Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave), head of the local convent, is sexually obsessed with him. She asks for Grandier to become the convent's new confessor. Grandier secretly marries another woman, but news of this reaches Sister Jeanne. Urbain Grandier Urbain Grandier (1590 - 18 August 1634) was a French Catholic priest who was executed on charges of seduction and witchcraft in 1634. ... Robert Oliver Reed (February 13, 1938 – May 2, 1999) was an English actor known for his macho image on and off screen. ...


Baron de Laubardemont Dudley Sutton arrives with orders to demolish the city, overriding Grandier's orders to stop. Grandier summons the town's soldiers and forces Laubardemont to back down until a proclamation from King Louis arrives. Grandier departs Loudun to visit the King. In the meantime, Sister Jeanne is informed by Father Mignon that he is to be her new confessor. She informs him of his marriage and affairs. Mignon relays this information to Laubardemont. In the process, the information is distorted to claim that Grandier has bewitched the convent and is using witchcraft. Laubardemont summons the lunatic inquisitor Father Barre, a "professional witch-hunter", whose interrogations actually involve depraved acts of "exorcism", including the forced administration of enemas to his victims. Sister Jeanne claims that Grandier has bewitched her, and the other nuns do the same. A public exorcism erupts in the town, in which nuns remove their clothes and enter a state of religious frenzy. An envoy from Louis arrives, claming to be carrying a holy relic which can remove the "devils" possessing the nuns. Father Barre "Exorcises" the nuns with it, in which they appear as though they have been cured - until the Duke reveals the case allegedly containing the relic to be empty. Dudley Sutton (born April 6, 1933 in Surrey, England) is a British actor. ... This 2qt (about 1. ...


In the midst of the chaos, Grandier arrives and is immediately arrested. After being given a ridiculous trial, he is is tortured and shaven, although he manages to convince Mignon that he is innocent, and refuses to confess. He is then taken to be burnt at the stake. His executioner promises to strangle him before he is burnt rather than suffer the agonising death he would otherwise experience. Before this can happen, however, Barre starts the fire himself. As Grandier burns, the city walls are blown up, causing the people to flee.


After the execution, Barre leaves to continue his activities elsewhere. Laubardemont informs Sister Jeanne that Mignon has been imprisoned for claiming that Grandier is innocent. He gives her one of Grandier's charred bones and leaves. Grandier's wife is seen walking away form the city as the film ends.


Relationship With Historical Events

While the film is based on historical events, as detailed in Huxley's book, director Russell took significant liberties with incidents, chronology, surrounding events, and the depiction of characters such as Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu, who bear no resemblance to the historical figures. Louis XIII is depicted as an effeminate homosexual who amuses himself by shooting Protestants dressed up as birds, while Richelieu is borne about in a chair by servants, in the manner of royalty.[citation needed] Louis XIII (September 27, 1601 - May 14, 1643), called the Just (French: le Juste), was King of France from 1610 to 1643. ... Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (September 9, 1585 – December 4, 1642), was a French clergyman, noble, and statesman. ...


Cast

Vanessa Redgrave, CBE (born 30 January 1937) is an Academy Award winning English actress and member of the Redgrave family, one of the enduring theatrical dynasties. ... Robert Oliver Reed (February 13, 1938 – May 2, 1999) was an English actor known for his macho image on and off screen. ... Dudley Sutton (born April 6, 1933 in Surrey, England) is a British actor. ... Max Adrian (Max Bor) by Cecil Beaton, 1949, National Portrait Gallery Max Adrian was an acclaimed actor of the middle of the twentieth century. ... Gemma Jones (born December 4, 1942) is an English character actress on both stage and screen. ... Murray Melvin (born 1932, London, England) is a British stage and film actor. ... John Woodvine in the Doctor Who serial The Armageddon Factor John Woodvine (born 21 July 1929 in Tyne Dock, County Durham) is a British actor who has appeared in over sixty film and television roles. ... Christopher Logue (born Portsmouth, 1926) is an English poet associated with the British Poetry Revival. ... Kenneth Colley is a British actor. ... Brian Murphy may refer to: A British actor most noted for his role as George Roper in the sitcom George and Mildred A former mayor of Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada A former captain of the Zimbabwean cricket team A mathematician An ice hockey player in the National Hockey League... Georgina Hale (born 4 August 1943 in Ilford, Essex) is a British actress who has appeared in many films and television programmes. ... Andrew Matthew William Faulds (1 March 1923 - 31 May 2000) was a British actor and politician. ... Michael Gothard (June 24, 1939 – December 2, 1992 (suicide) ) was an English actor, usually best remembered for the television series Arthur of the Britons, Ken Russells The Devils and as the villain in For Your Eyes Only. ...

Reaction

Since the time of its release, the film has caused enormous controversy. In the United Kingdom it was banned by 17 local authorities, and everywhere attracted many scathing reviews. Judith Crist called it a "grand fiesta for sadists and perverts",[citation needed] while Derek Malcolm called it "a very bad film indeed."[citation needed] However, it won the award for Best Director-Foreign Film in the Venice Film Festival, despite being banned in the country. The United States National Board of Review awarded Ken Russell best director for The Devils and his next film, The Boy Friend. In 2002, when 100 film makers and critics were asked to cite what they considered to be the ten most important films ever made, The Devils featured in the lists submitted by critic Mark Kermode and director Alex Cox.[citation needed] Cover of The Private Eye, The Cowboy and the Very Naked Girl Judith Crist (born May 22, 1922) is an American film critic. ... Derek Malcolm (born 1939) is a British film critic and historian. ... The Venice Film Festival ( ) is the oldest film festival in the world. ... The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures was founded in 1909 in New York City, just 13 years after the birth of cinema, to protest New York City Mayor George McClennans revocation of moving-picture exhibition licenses on Christmas Eve 1908. ... The Boy Friend (sometimes mis-spelled The Boyfriend) is a musical by Sandy Wilson. ... Mark Kermode (born Mark Fairey[1] on 2 July 1963) is an English film critic who regularly writes for Sight and Sound magazine and The Observer newspaper. ... Alexander Morton Cox (b. ...


Censorship

French poster for The Devils
French poster for The Devils

The film's combination of religious themes and imagery combined with violent and sexual content was a test for the British Board of Film Censors that at the time was being pressured by socially conservative interest groups. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 449 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (1423 × 1900 pixel, file size: 124 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) source: http://www. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 449 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (1423 × 1900 pixel, file size: 124 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) source: http://www. ... British Board of Film Classification logo The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), originally British Board of Film Censors, is the organisation responsible for film and some video game classification and censorship within the United Kingdom. ...


In order to earn an "X" certificate, Russell made minor cuts to the more explicit nudity (mainly in the cathedral sequences) and removed some violent detail (notably the crushing of Grandier's legs). However, the biggest cuts were made by the studio itself, prior to submission to the BBFC, removing two scenes in their entirety, notably a two-and-a-half-minute sequence of crazed naked nuns sexually assaulting a statue of Christ and about of half of a latter scene with Sister Jeanne masturbating with the charred tibia of Grandier after self-administering an enema. However, even in it's released form, the film was considerably stronger in detail than most films released prior to that point.


Its fate in the United States was even more stringent, with a further set of cuts made to even more of the nudity with some key scenes (including Sister Jeanne's crazed visions, exorcism and the climactic burning) shorn of the more explicit detail.


All of this material was presumed lost or destroyed until critic Mark Kermode found the complete "Rape of Christ" sequence and several other deleted scenes in 2002. The artist Adam Chodzko made a video work in which traced and interviewed many of the actresses who had played the nuns during the orgy scene. Although some material may have been lost forever, the NFT was able to show The Devils in the fullest possible state in 2004. This uncut version premiered at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film in March 2006. The Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film was created in 1983 as a venue for horror, thriller & science fiction films. ...


The British version remains the most complete one in circulation, although there are long promised plans to release the uncut version on mass-market DVD. On April 25, 2007, The Devils was shown for a second time in its fullest possible state to a group of students and staff at the University of Southampton, followed by a question and answer session with the director, moderated by Mark Kermode. It was the first significant event to take place during Russell's tenure as a visiting fellow at the University of Southampton in the English and film departments, April 2007 to March 2008. is the 115th day of the year (116th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... The University of Southampton is a university situated in the city of Southampton, on the south coast of Great Britain. ...


An NTSC-format DVD edition on the Angel Digital label appeared in 2005, with the so-called "Rape of Christ" scene and other censored footage restored, and featuring a documentary by Mark Kermode about the film, as well as interviews with Russell, some of the surviving cast members, and a member of the BBFC who participated in the original censorship of the film. NTSC is the analog television system in use in Canada, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, and some other countries, mostly in the Americas (see map). ... Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... Mark Kermode (born Mark Fairey[1] on 2 July 1963) is an English film critic who regularly writes for Sight and Sound magazine and The Observer newspaper. ...


DVDActive.com announced on February 28, 2008 that The Devils would finally be released on DVD by Warner Home Video in the U.S. on May 20, 2008, in the uncut (111 min) version, but without additional material. However, a day later, a DVDActive forum post asserted that the release had been dropped from Warner's schedule. [1].


References

  1. ^ DVDActive.com listing

External links

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

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