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
Film Censorship In Australia. The Commonwealth Film Censorship Board imposed unprecedented advertising demands on a British film, 'The Devils', directed by Ken Russell.
'The Devils', produced by Russo Productions Ltd, has been registered "restricted" uncut on condition that all advertising be cleared by the chief film censor and carry a notice about the nature of the film.
These details were contained in the Film Censorship Bulletin for January 1972, and a 9979-feet (110:53) version of THE DEVILS was passed with an R classification. It was registered, subject to the special conditions that:-
- - All advertising clearly indicates that this film is classified as shown on the Certificate of Registration,
- - All advertising (including any trailers) shall carry the following words:- "The Devils' is not a film for everyone. It tells of hideous events which allegedly occurred in France in 1634. Because the film is explicit and highly graphic in depicting those events, some-people will find it visually shocking and deeply disturbing."
- - A notice bearing the words:- " 'The Devils' is not a film for everyone. It tells of hideous events which allegedly occurred in France in 1634. Because the film is explicit and highly graphic in depicting those events, some people will find it visually shocking and deeply disturbing" shall be displayed outside all places where the film is being or is to be exhibited.
- - All advertising, whether - imported or locally-produced (or combination of imported and local produced) shall be submitted to the Chief Film Censor and shall be approved by him before release.
- - These conditions are imposed under the general power to put whatever conditions are thought appropriate upon the registration of any film.
In the United Kingdom, the BBFC demanded cuts to several scenes, including the masturbation by Jeanne with the black charred bone that Laubardemont gave to her as a souvenir. Warner Brothers to obtain a BBFC classification rating, made distributor cuts that eliminated the four-minute sequence showing a group of demented nuns raping a statue of Christ which brought the orgy to a climax, the so-called "Rape of Christ" before finally submitting their cut version to the British censors. The BBFC then removed a further 89 seconds. The resulting 110:53 minutes BBFC version was shown in Australian cinemas, and is the longest approved version of THE DEVILS. Warner Brothers have never allowed any of the eliminated sequences to be reinstated. See more »
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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