“HELL HOLDS NO SURPRISES FOR THEM…”
What happens when you take one of England’s most controversial Directors, one of their country’s heaviest drinkers, and add that to a volatile mix of possessed Nuns? Something that looks like THIS:
Behold The Controversial and Brilliant Film “The Devils!”
If you haven’t seen this wildly creative and controversial movie, you have missed a forgotten masterpiece! “The Devils” was directed by one of England’s wildest Directors, Ken Russell – and was released by Warner Brothers in 1971.
Talk about controversial! Movie fans around the world are demanding that this little-seen masterpiece finally gets released on DVD or blu-ray in its uncut glory!
First, watch the provocative trailer:
Here is the plot: 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.
Oliver Reed stars as Father Grandier – Reed was known as a legendary drinker…and a madman on the set…but with this controversial subject matter, Reed was just what visionary Director Ken Russell needed for this masterpiece…
As Cardinal Richelieu’s thugs take control of the town, Reed is set up as a warlock in control of a devil-possessed nunnery – and let the craziness begin!
Vanessa Redgrave starred as the sex-crazed Nun – who charged Reed with witchcraft…setting in motion a series of controversial scenes that garnered the film an “X” rating when it was released!
Yes, A DEVIL-POSSESSED NUNNERY!
This film was banned from Italy and its stars Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed were threatened with three years’ jail time if they set foot in that country. Reed described this film as his best performance ever…
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.
One reason movie buffs are clamoring for a new blu-ray release is that Director 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.
Here’s more great trivia from that documentary: while preparing for the climactic demolition of the city walls, a technician mistook a signal from Ken Russell and detonated the explosives before the cameras were rolling. A large chunk of the set had to be rebuilt.
However, a documentary on the second disk of the 2012 DVD release of the film contradicts this story. In this documentary, Russell states that it was himself that pressed the button which detonated the explosives without communicating this to the camera team. It is also stated that the scene had to be re-shot a month later as a consequence the cameras missing the destruction of the walls.
And now an online petition has started to “free ‘The Devils'”, and you can take part!
The late Ken Russell’s wife, Lisi Tribble Russell has been leading a campaign to get the film released in its uncut form…you can follow her on twitter at:
And you can support this cause on Facebook as well! “Like” their page here:
And help keep the momentum going!
Of course, you can see much more of Ken Russell’s work as well, including his brilliant take on The Who’s “Tommy!”
“Tommy” contained another provocative scene from the Director: he has Actress Ann-Margret “swim” in baked beans! See the whole story here:
And of course, read more about legendary Actor Oliver Reed as well!
Oliver Reed was one of film’s most notorious “Hellraisers” – read all about him and the other by clicking here, part of my obituary of Peter O’ Toole, who was also profiled in the book:
And good luck to everyone fighting to get this masterpiece released in its uncut glory for movie lovers to enjoy!
Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Awards, Books / Media, British Cinema, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Foreign Films, Great Films, Grindhouse, Hollywood, Independent Cinema, London, Movies, Music, Obscure Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized