41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
A DVD to treasure, despite it's unavoidable flaws.,
This review is from: The Devils (Special Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)
Other reviews go into detail about this not being the 2004 longer cut that restored some previously lost footage and the only version the BFI is allowed to release is the UK theatrical X certified cut. A fact that is acknowledged in Mark Kermode's filmed introduction to the film. So I will not go over that ground again, so suffice it to say even this X certificate version is almost disturbingly powerful, even for the strong stomached. Having seen the director's cut before, the absence of the rape of Christ scene was apparent to me but, and this might be a controversial view, didn't change the nature of the film in any definite way for me. In fact, it surprised me at just what imagery is still there in the UK theatrical cut. While it might not be the version that Ken Russell would have preferred to be shown, it's still infinitely superior to the butchered US cut. That, coupled with a fine transfer in the correct aspect ratio, and I'm suitably wowed.
The sound quality should not be ignored either - it's superb. I like the fact BFI use a (big by DVD standards) DD 320kbps encode for a mono soundtrack. The reverberating, unsettling score gets the room it needs to scratch away at the ear drums. I've honestly never heard the film sound so good.
The Hell on Earth documentary is excellent. It manages to cram a lot into forty-odd minutes. Probably because there isn't any fluff. The censored footage that is included here shows just how ludicrous some of the censoring is.
The Ken Russell Q&A clip had me glued. I'd have watched so much more of that if it were possible.
I have to admit, the more leisurely Director of Devils archive piece had me struggling to stay tuned in to the screen. The archival footage was fascinating, the piece as a whole just seemed to lack focus. I'm still very grateful for it's inclusion though, it's contextual place is invaluable.
I haven't had the time to digest absolutely everything yet in this feature packed DVD, including it's thick booklet which on cursory glance is packed with knowledgeable writings about the film. But I couldn't recommend this highly enough, despite this editions unavoidable flaws. Suffice it to say, I'll be treasuring this DVD but would have no qualms about buying it again on Blu-Ray or in a less censored version. I now absolutely adore this film in a way I didn't previously.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Mar 2012 01:24:08 GMT
Anthony Costine says:
Great review. Thank you.
Posted on 27 Mar 2012 14:23:00 BDT
Superb film, love the quote in the movie about 'women being hatched out of dung'.
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