The Devils Reviews

  • Oct 26, 2020

    this film is extremely heavy and disturbing, everything is heavy and disturbing.

    this film is extremely heavy and disturbing, everything is heavy and disturbing.

  • Aug 25, 2020

    Filthy and perverted obscene movies

    Filthy and perverted obscene movies

  • Jun 03, 2020

    The Devils is possibly the most hated, the most shocking, and the most censored film of all time - as well as the most misunderstood. And it's impossible to watch the original version. The long, complicated history of The Devils controversy is almost as intriguing as the film itself. (For details, find the documentary Hell on Earth, directed by Paul Joyce, 2002, or the book Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of the Devils, by Richard Crouse, 2012.) Perhaps today, the "shocking" content would not make much of a stir, given all the violence so common in film today. In Loudun, France in 1634, Catholic nuns are deemed to be possessed by the church. We witness a lot of breasts, a public exorcism, a nun restrained while inquisitioners prepare a large metal contraption for either an enema or a douche, a priest burned alive at the stake, and then a nun masturbating with that dead priest's femur bone. But this is no drive-in grindhouse exploitation flick. The masturbating nun is played by Vanessa Redgrave; the priest is played by Oliver Reed. Their performances will haunt you. Most importantly, the story is based on actual events which were documented in the book The Nuns of Loudun, by Aldous Huxley (1952). But what has disturbed people most - and what is not seen in any version approved for U.S. viewing - is the "rape of Christ" scene. A bunch of hysterical and semi-nude nuns run around a scream a lot, tear down a church's large crucifix, then mount the attached statue of Jesus Christ to simulate copulation. It's just a few seconds long and it's all rather silly, though hugely entertaining, thanks to Ken Russell's signature in-your-face style of directing. So why has this film caused such controversy? And why does Warner Brothers still refuse to release the director's original version, with all scenes intact? It has nothing to do with the extreme violence and sexuality. Rather, it has everything to do with the film's laser-sharp focus on the Catholic church as an out-of-control institution that will stop at nothing to acquire real estate and gain political power. Even at the cost of human lives. For today's audiences, the theme is even more relevant than in 1971. In fact, the first scene clearly states the film's thesis: Keep church and state separate, or expect dire consequences.

    The Devils is possibly the most hated, the most shocking, and the most censored film of all time - as well as the most misunderstood. And it's impossible to watch the original version. The long, complicated history of The Devils controversy is almost as intriguing as the film itself. (For details, find the documentary Hell on Earth, directed by Paul Joyce, 2002, or the book Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of the Devils, by Richard Crouse, 2012.) Perhaps today, the "shocking" content would not make much of a stir, given all the violence so common in film today. In Loudun, France in 1634, Catholic nuns are deemed to be possessed by the church. We witness a lot of breasts, a public exorcism, a nun restrained while inquisitioners prepare a large metal contraption for either an enema or a douche, a priest burned alive at the stake, and then a nun masturbating with that dead priest's femur bone. But this is no drive-in grindhouse exploitation flick. The masturbating nun is played by Vanessa Redgrave; the priest is played by Oliver Reed. Their performances will haunt you. Most importantly, the story is based on actual events which were documented in the book The Nuns of Loudun, by Aldous Huxley (1952). But what has disturbed people most - and what is not seen in any version approved for U.S. viewing - is the "rape of Christ" scene. A bunch of hysterical and semi-nude nuns run around a scream a lot, tear down a church's large crucifix, then mount the attached statue of Jesus Christ to simulate copulation. It's just a few seconds long and it's all rather silly, though hugely entertaining, thanks to Ken Russell's signature in-your-face style of directing. So why has this film caused such controversy? And why does Warner Brothers still refuse to release the director's original version, with all scenes intact? It has nothing to do with the extreme violence and sexuality. Rather, it has everything to do with the film's laser-sharp focus on the Catholic church as an out-of-control institution that will stop at nothing to acquire real estate and gain political power. Even at the cost of human lives. For today's audiences, the theme is even more relevant than in 1971. In fact, the first scene clearly states the film's thesis: Keep church and state separate, or expect dire consequences.

  • Apr 04, 2020

    A masterpice...Period. RIP, Ken

    A masterpice...Period. RIP, Ken

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    Alec B Super Reviewer
    Oct 09, 2019

    Wonderfully profane madness. Even if the film's capacity to shock has diminished, Russel's vision remains unparalleled. You still haven't seen anything like this.

    Wonderfully profane madness. Even if the film's capacity to shock has diminished, Russel's vision remains unparalleled. You still haven't seen anything like this.

  • Jul 21, 2019

    A hidden gem that even after 40 years, remains one of the most controversial and "devilish" movies ever made!

    A hidden gem that even after 40 years, remains one of the most controversial and "devilish" movies ever made!

  • Dec 30, 2018

    This is definitely a B movie cult film. From all accounts, the uncut version is even more controversial than the version that was released. This review is based on the uncut version. This was a true story about the fall of Urband Grandier, a french priest. The priest was tried and executed for his black magic and dealing with the devil. I was glad the priest got what was coming to him due to his actions early in the film, but the trial was an absolute stage show. This film has TONS of controversy due to the things that "happen" to the nuns, plus what happens to the christian statues. It was definitely a fun watch to experience something so unique.

    This is definitely a B movie cult film. From all accounts, the uncut version is even more controversial than the version that was released. This review is based on the uncut version. This was a true story about the fall of Urband Grandier, a french priest. The priest was tried and executed for his black magic and dealing with the devil. I was glad the priest got what was coming to him due to his actions early in the film, but the trial was an absolute stage show. This film has TONS of controversy due to the things that "happen" to the nuns, plus what happens to the christian statues. It was definitely a fun watch to experience something so unique.

  • Dec 24, 2018

    Such a shame censorship kept Russell from putting out the whole intended footage of the movie. Still a great movie.

    Such a shame censorship kept Russell from putting out the whole intended footage of the movie. Still a great movie.

  • Oct 14, 2018

    In 17th Century France, Cardinal Richelieu is influencing Louis XIII 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 carrying out demolitions in the town of Loudun, having made a promise to its Governor not to damage the town. Meanwhile, in Loudun, the Governor has died, leaving control of the city to Father 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 Jean Mignon, another priest in the town; Grandier is, however, unaware that the neurotic, hunchbacked Sister Jeanne des Anges (Vanessa Redgrave) (a victim of severe scoliosis who happens to be abbess of the local Ursuline convent), is sexually obsessed with him. Sister Jeanne asks for Grandier to become the convent's new confessor. Grandier secretly marries another woman, Madeleine De Brou (Gemma Jones), but news of this reaches Sister Jeanne, driving her to jealous insanity. When Madeleine returns a book by Ursuline foundress Angela Merici that Sister Jeanne had earlier lent her, the abbess viciously attacks her with accusations of being a "fornicator" and "sacrilegious bitch," among other things. Baron Jean de Laubardemont 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 pending the arrival of an order for the demolition from King Louis. Grandier departs Loudun to visit the King. In the meantime, Sister Jeanne is informed by Father Mignon that he is to be their new confessor. She informs him of Grandier's marriage and affairs, and also inadvertently accuses Grandier of witchcraft and of possessing her, information that Mignon relays to Laubardemont. In the process, the information is pared down to just the claim that Grandier has bewitched the convent and has dealt with the Devil. With Grandier away from Loudon, Laubardemont and Mignon decide to find evidence against him... "The Devils" is a 1971 British historical drama horror film directed by Ken Russell. Russell's screenplay is based partly on the 1952 book The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley, and partly on the 1960 play The Devils by John Whiting, also based on Huxley's book. The film is a dramatised historical account of the rise and fall of Urbain Grandier, a 17th-century Roman Catholic priest executed for witchcraft following the supposed possessions in Loudun, France. The film faced harsh reaction from national film rating systems due to its disturbingly violent, sexual, and religious content, and originally received an X rating in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It was banned in several countries, and eventually heavily edited for release in others. The film has never received a release in its original, uncut form in various countries, and is largely unavailable in the home video market. The film remains controversial since the time of its first release in July 1971. In the UK, 17 local authorities banned the film's distribution. Critics gave it equally scathing reviews. Judith Crist called it a "grand fiesta for sadists and perverts", while Derek Malcolm called it "a very bad film indeed." Roger Ebert gave the film a rare zero-star rating. However, it won the award for Best Director-Foreign Film in the Venice Film Festival, despite being temporarily confiscated in Verona. The film was granted release a few weeks later. The United States National Board of Review awarded Ken Russell best director for The Devils and his next film, The Boy Friend. Film historian Joel W. Finler described The Devils as Russell's "most brilliant cinematic achievement, but widely regarded as his most distasteful and offensive work". 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. "The Devils" is a film that has been on my to see list for a long long time. Ken Russell pushes the envelope in witchhunting, herecy, devil worship, possession of evil doings, love, religion and sexual lust. It´s an intense film to say the least with great performances from Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave. Russell does everything he can to add shock value for the audience in 1971 (maybe not as shocking in 2018) and once you have seen it you won´t forget it I can promise you that. I reckon he went for offending as many people as possible to get a reaction on how he thinks religion and the church "possess" people in our society and use it as a tool of power to supress and make people lose their independency. Russell tries to portray Grandier as he sees Christianity in the flesh so to speak. Grandier´s faith in God is so strong that he will not allow anyone to make him deviate from his path. The controversy surrounding this film adds of course to it´s reputation, but it´s a unique film that has its place in movie history no matter what you might think of it. Trivia: A major sequence in which the nuns tear down and ravish a life-sized icon of Christ in an orgiastic frenzy was cut from the film and subsequently vanished. Film critic Mark Kermode discovered the footage many years later. Ken Russell was keen to reinstate the scene but found that Warner Brothers were not interested in doing a director's cut. The footage can be seen in a documentary Kermode made about Russell and was subsequently included in an uncut DVD release.

    In 17th Century France, Cardinal Richelieu is influencing Louis XIII 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 carrying out demolitions in the town of Loudun, having made a promise to its Governor not to damage the town. Meanwhile, in Loudun, the Governor has died, leaving control of the city to Father 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 Jean Mignon, another priest in the town; Grandier is, however, unaware that the neurotic, hunchbacked Sister Jeanne des Anges (Vanessa Redgrave) (a victim of severe scoliosis who happens to be abbess of the local Ursuline convent), is sexually obsessed with him. Sister Jeanne asks for Grandier to become the convent's new confessor. Grandier secretly marries another woman, Madeleine De Brou (Gemma Jones), but news of this reaches Sister Jeanne, driving her to jealous insanity. When Madeleine returns a book by Ursuline foundress Angela Merici that Sister Jeanne had earlier lent her, the abbess viciously attacks her with accusations of being a "fornicator" and "sacrilegious bitch," among other things. Baron Jean de Laubardemont 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 pending the arrival of an order for the demolition from King Louis. Grandier departs Loudun to visit the King. In the meantime, Sister Jeanne is informed by Father Mignon that he is to be their new confessor. She informs him of Grandier's marriage and affairs, and also inadvertently accuses Grandier of witchcraft and of possessing her, information that Mignon relays to Laubardemont. In the process, the information is pared down to just the claim that Grandier has bewitched the convent and has dealt with the Devil. With Grandier away from Loudon, Laubardemont and Mignon decide to find evidence against him... "The Devils" is a 1971 British historical drama horror film directed by Ken Russell. Russell's screenplay is based partly on the 1952 book The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley, and partly on the 1960 play The Devils by John Whiting, also based on Huxley's book. The film is a dramatised historical account of the rise and fall of Urbain Grandier, a 17th-century Roman Catholic priest executed for witchcraft following the supposed possessions in Loudun, France. The film faced harsh reaction from national film rating systems due to its disturbingly violent, sexual, and religious content, and originally received an X rating in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It was banned in several countries, and eventually heavily edited for release in others. The film has never received a release in its original, uncut form in various countries, and is largely unavailable in the home video market. The film remains controversial since the time of its first release in July 1971. In the UK, 17 local authorities banned the film's distribution. Critics gave it equally scathing reviews. Judith Crist called it a "grand fiesta for sadists and perverts", while Derek Malcolm called it "a very bad film indeed." Roger Ebert gave the film a rare zero-star rating. However, it won the award for Best Director-Foreign Film in the Venice Film Festival, despite being temporarily confiscated in Verona. The film was granted release a few weeks later. The United States National Board of Review awarded Ken Russell best director for The Devils and his next film, The Boy Friend. Film historian Joel W. Finler described The Devils as Russell's "most brilliant cinematic achievement, but widely regarded as his most distasteful and offensive work". 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. "The Devils" is a film that has been on my to see list for a long long time. Ken Russell pushes the envelope in witchhunting, herecy, devil worship, possession of evil doings, love, religion and sexual lust. It´s an intense film to say the least with great performances from Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave. Russell does everything he can to add shock value for the audience in 1971 (maybe not as shocking in 2018) and once you have seen it you won´t forget it I can promise you that. I reckon he went for offending as many people as possible to get a reaction on how he thinks religion and the church "possess" people in our society and use it as a tool of power to supress and make people lose their independency. Russell tries to portray Grandier as he sees Christianity in the flesh so to speak. Grandier´s faith in God is so strong that he will not allow anyone to make him deviate from his path. The controversy surrounding this film adds of course to it´s reputation, but it´s a unique film that has its place in movie history no matter what you might think of it. Trivia: A major sequence in which the nuns tear down and ravish a life-sized icon of Christ in an orgiastic frenzy was cut from the film and subsequently vanished. Film critic Mark Kermode discovered the footage many years later. Ken Russell was keen to reinstate the scene but found that Warner Brothers were not interested in doing a director's cut. The footage can be seen in a documentary Kermode made about Russell and was subsequently included in an uncut DVD release.

  • Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
    Aug 03, 2018

    Ken Russell's work here is deliberately thought-provoking as a priest (Reed) living on the edge of popular thought, and stubbornly argumentative with the powers-that-be, is therefore expeditiously accused of worshipping Satan. Hysteria follows. The finger pointed at modern society is strong with this one. Don't say I didn't warn you. Parental guidance suggested. For your parents, too.

    Ken Russell's work here is deliberately thought-provoking as a priest (Reed) living on the edge of popular thought, and stubbornly argumentative with the powers-that-be, is therefore expeditiously accused of worshipping Satan. Hysteria follows. The finger pointed at modern society is strong with this one. Don't say I didn't warn you. Parental guidance suggested. For your parents, too.