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The Devils (Special Edition) [DVD] [1971]


Price: £11.83 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Oliver Reed, Vanessa Redgrave, Dudley Sutton, Michael Gothard, Murray Melvin
  • Directors: Ken Russell
  • Format: Anamorphic, Dolby, PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: BFI Video
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Mar 2012
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0065N0SN0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,138 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

THE DEVILS (Special Edition)

A film by Ken Russell

In seventeenth-century France, a promiscuous and divisive local priest, Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), uses his powers to protect the city of Loudun from destruction at the hands of the establishment. Soon, he stands accused of the demonic possession of Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave), whose erotic obsession with him fuels the hysterical fervour that sweeps through the convent.

With its bold and brilliant direction by Ken Russell, magnificent performances by Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave, exquisite Derek Jarman sets and sublimely dissonant score by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, The Devils stands as a profound and sincere commentary on religious hysteria, political persecution and the corrupt marriage of church and state.

Finally available on DVD for the first time, The Devils is presented in the original UK X certificate version with a host of new and exciting extra features.

Special Features

  • DVD premiere presentation of the original UK X certificate version
  • Mark Kermode introduction (2012, 2 mins): the broadcaster and critic's newly filmed foreword to The Devils
  • Audio commentary with Ken Russell, Mark Kermode, Michael Bradsell and Paul Joyce
  • Hell on Earth (Paul Joyce, 2002, 48 mins): documentary exploring the film's production and the controversial history
  • Director of Devils(1971, 22 mins): documentary featuring candid Ken Russell interviews and unique footage of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies recording his score
  • On-set footage with Michael Bradsell commentary(2012, 8 mins)
  • On-stage Q&A with Ken Russell (2012, 13 mins): the director in conversation with Mark Kermode at the NFT in 2004
  • Amelia and the Angel (Ken Russell, 1958, 26 mins): a delightful mix of religious allegory and magical fantasy
  • Original UK trailer
  • Original US trailer
  • Fully illustrated booklet featuring new essays by Mark Kermode, Craig Lapper (BBFC), and editor Michael Bradsell, with original production materials and on-set photographs

UK / 1971 / colour / English language, with main feature optional hard-of-hearing subtitles / 107 minutes / Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps) / 1 DVD-9 + 1 DVD-5 / original aspect ratio 2.35:1 (16x9 enhanced)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Dave Langton on 17 Aug 2002
Format: VHS Tape
If you want to see Ken Russell's finest film, The Devils, you MUST buy the version released in the UK in the Maverick Directors series in 1997, and buy it soon, because I think it has been deleted by Warner Bros.
Every other video incarnation of The Devils is a disgrace. The picture is murky, grainy and distorted, ruining the impact of the fabulous sets and photography. And, most importantly, every other VHS uses the heavily censored American version of the film, rather than the full UK print.
Two minutes were chopped, and a further two minutes (approx) were re-edited, so that, in many scenes, the soundtracks of the US and UK versions are identical, but the visuals are completely different. EVERY SINGLE SCENE that has gross, violent or raunchy images (quite a few in this film) was toned down for the US - the orgies and the fiery finale were completely butchered. The US version, which may now be the only version available in the UK, is so heavily censored, it's almost a different film.
Whatever its faults, The Devils is an impressive, provocative film that no major studio would dare to make today, and it deserves to be seen in the best possible condition. When will we get this film, in the UK cut, on DVD? Poor old Ken Russell may not be trendy now, but don't forget that The Devils won several awards, including Best Foreign Film in the Venice Film Festival, and is certainly more worthy of a DVD revival that the heaps of no-brain cr** being released every week.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 July 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Let me first say that if you don't like Ken Russell's work, you probably won't enjoy this. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best films ever made and certainly one of the most harrowing. Released in the same year that saw Polanski's MACBETH and Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Russell's THE DEVILS, set in medieval France, explores similar themes of a desensitized, hypocritical, and morally bankrupt society in its story of Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed in an electrifying performance), a naughty Huguenot priest whose amorous misadventures raise the eyebrows of some of the more "virtuous" residents of the small but heavily fortified French town of Loudun. After the death of its beloved governor, Grandier, his best friend, was put in charge. When he impregnates the magistrate's daughter, also cousin to fellow priest Fr. Mignon, he unwittingly signs his own death warrant. At the same time, Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave, never more formidable), a hunchbacked and sexually frustrated nun, develops a huge crush on him. Unable to deal with her feelings, her lust manifests itself in disturbing visions of a blasphemous nature. Angry when her advances are rejected, she falsely accuses Fr. Grandier of bewitching her and her sisters. Meanwhile, a certain Baron de Laubardemont (a pity Dudley Sutton didn't make it big) complains to the evil Cardinal Richlieau about the fiercely protective Grandier; he and the Cardinal want Grandier out of the way so that they can form France into one giant Church-State. They despise Grandier because of his education, and his ability to see through their chicanery to the truth. When Sister Jeanne's outcries become public, mass hysteria results and Grandier is put in mortal danger. With the help of evil "exorcist" Fr.Read more ›
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Ian Armer VINE VOICE on 1 Dec 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Spoilers

I have it on good word that this release is as good as it will ever get for The Devils. Warners US would happily destroy the negatives and consign it to memory, such is their absolute and utter loathing of this film and for its content. I also have been informed that the 2004 director's cut will NEVER be released onto DVD outside of select cinema screenings. The fact that there is no Blu Ray edition of this release (and it's the future, apparently) should be seen as 'significant' - for some reason, people want this film to vanish.

However, as other reviewers point out, let's not get down here! The theatrical UK cut is a fine version (approved by the late Ken Russell) and even though the notorious 'rape of Christ' scene has been removed - and from the 'Hell on Earth' documentary as well, though it now has extra footage to compensate - The Devils is a powerhouse of a film about corruption, cruelty and sacrifice. Russell said that it was the only truly political film he made and it is a black as midnight, fiercely raging piece of work with an eye popping visual design by Derek Jarman.

The performances are all spectacular, but the story itself is the star. I can't think of a nastier or more disturbing tale of complete religious and political corruption. The scenes of torture and the death of Grandier are a difficult watch, but Reed's flawed priest triumphs - if only spiritually - in the face of insane hypocrisy and evil.

The Devils is a masterpiece and one of the greatest films ever made by a true genius of cinema. Do not hesitate in purchasing a copy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JL on 30 Jun 2008
Format: VHS Tape
This film deserves so much more credit for what it achieves from Huxley's original. While some of the performances are a little shakey, this film represents one of the great Oliver Reed's finest moments - he exudes power and sexuality as Grandier, and the film achieves some particularly powerful/disturbing moments in the depiction of the ergot-addled nunnery.

HOWEVER...

This film has truly been victimised by the censors and there is Still no DVD version available - surely with the garbage which the censors let through these days this film can be restored and re-released?
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