The Devils

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didi-5
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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#151 Post by didi-5 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:19 am

I still have the off air recording from BBC2 but am very much looking forward to this release. It might not be as complete as it could be, but it is probably the best we are going to get, and for Russell's greatest film to have been out of circulation this long is really a bit of an embarrassment.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#152 Post by Wes Moynihan » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:35 am

Here's my old VHS copy which I believe is the R-rated version... I'll be glad to dump this...

Image

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#153 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:08 am

This link will almost certainly be blocked by the Murdoch paywall, but today's (UK) Times publishes a piece on the BFI DVD that Ken Russell wrote just five days before his death.

Here are a couple of salient bits to make it clear that this release came with his full approval:
On March 19 my masterpiece — Britain’s masterpiece — The Devils is to be released on DVD by the BFI in a UK director’s cut (ie, the master I chose before the Americans butchered it) with all kinds of extras. I know this will please a fair number of crazed film fans, some of whom, like myself, have been driven crazy precisely because The Devils has not been allowed a proper release or re-evaluation since it came out in 1971.
I’d rather have the film seen, even censored. The new DVD version is as close to its original form as I approved it and as Mike Bradsell, my long-term editor, shaped it, in a time when editing involved actual film reels and splices.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#154 Post by j99 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:57 am

MichaelB wrote:This link will almost certainly be blocked by the Murdoch paywall, but today's (UK) Times publishes a piece on the BFI DVD that Ken Russell wrote just five days before his death.
Yes, you have to subscribe to be able to read the article.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#155 Post by Arn777 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:31 pm

Here is the full article (hopefully not infringing on copyright too much!)


MOD EDIT: yeah, definitely infringing copyright. Removed article.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#156 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:18 pm

Arn777 wrote:Here is the full article (hopefully not infringing on copyright too much!)
You lifted an entire article from behind a paywall, reposted it in a public forum, and still hope you're not infringing on copyright?

Is this some kind of joke, or are you genuinely unsure about this?

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#157 Post by Arn777 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:29 pm

I assumed that it would be ok to share, for a good cause, and it's from Ken Russell himself, not a journalist. If it's such a big issue, it can be deleted.

No need to jump on high horses, I haven't lifted the whole newspaper (which I pay for) but one bit of particular interest for people here, which I felt they shouldn't miss because it's behind a paywall.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#158 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:02 pm

Sorry, the Mods have already alerted the Internet Police

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#159 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:42 am

Arn777 wrote:I assumed that it would be ok to share, for a good cause, and it's from Ken Russell himself, not a journalist. If it's such a big issue, it can be deleted.
It's copyright News International, not Ken Russell. When he installed the paywall in the first place, Rupert Murdoch threatened to come down hard on people who do exactly what you did.
No need to jump on high horses, I haven't lifted the whole newspaper (which I pay for) but one bit of particular interest for people here, which I felt they shouldn't miss because it's behind a paywall.
I wasn't so much jumping on a high horse as responding to your apparent naïveté about copyright. The mods would have deleted it because from a legal perspective they (or the forum owners, if different) would have been jointly liable for the infringement. In fact, they'd primarily have to carry the can if it came to a formal complaint.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#160 Post by fustar » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:11 am

MichaelB wrote:
MichaelB wrote:I hope that includes the send-off where Kermode thanks him for making one of the ten best films of all time and Russell says "Yeah! Lair of the White Worm!", and brought the house down. It was easily the best Q&A wrapping-up I've ever heard.
Well, it seems that the bad news is that it's been removed from the Q&A...

...but the good news is that it's in the commentary. Apparently - I haven't heard it myself.
Saw it yesterday. It's right at the very end of the commentary. But delivered by Kermode instead of Ken.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#161 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:09 am

fustar wrote:Saw it yesterday. It's right at the very end of the commentary. But delivered by Kermode instead of Ken.
Yes, I'm guessing that the commentary was recorded shortly after the Q&A. In one of his Times columns, Russell mentioned that he'd already recorded one, presumably for Warner UK when they were gearing up to release the film themselves in mid-2005.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#162 Post by fustar » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:09 am

A minor piece of trivia. In his notes in the booklet Kermode states that Ken claimed never to have seen Mother Joan of the Angels. But Ken admitted to having seen it as far back as 1970 in an interview with Fr. Gene Phillips (the sympathetic Jesuit). Not making a point here. Just thought it was interesting in terms of what fed in to the film.
Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:For mad fun, order it with The Gospel According to Matthew. Now there's a double bill.
Just got both in the last week (Gospel from Masters of Cinema). So mad-fun-tastic mind-blowing double-bill here I come.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#163 Post by jedgeco » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:27 pm

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:For mad fun, order it with The Gospel According to Matthew. Now there's a double bill.
That's exactly what I did from Amazon.UK, but only to hold down shipping fees.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#164 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:39 pm

fustar wrote:A minor piece of trivia. In his notes in the booklet Kermode states that Ken claimed never to have seen Mother Joan of the Angels. But Ken admitted to having seen it as far back as 1970 in an interview with Fr. Gene Phillips (the sympathetic Jesuit). Not making a point here. Just thought it was interesting in terms of what fed in to the film.
Thanks for that - and he's right about Mother Joan being much less political. Whereas most of the other 20th-century creative works about the Loudun possessions were inspired directly by Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudon, Mother Joan was adapted from a slightly older novella by the Polish writer Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, and I've seen no evidence that director Jerzy Kawalerowicz was even aware of Huxley's work - would it even have been translated and published in Poland before 1960?

Although both Huxley and Iwaszkiewicz were inspired by the same historical events, the crucial difference between their treatment is that Iwaszkiewicz began his story after the execution of Urbain Grandier, and relocated the setting several hundred miles east of Loudun, to the Polish (now Ukrainian) town of Ludyn. Which might seem like no more than replacing the French location with a Polish one with a nearly identical name, but a side-effect of this is to strip out virtually all the politics, since the narrative behind the Huxley/Whiting/Penderecki/Russell versions of The Devils revolves around the unusual if not unique administrative status of Loudun.

Ludyn, by contrast, appears to be a much more typical Polish town - and Kawalerowicz's film doesn't even feature that: virtually all of it takes place in either the convent or the nearby inn, and I'm not even sure that the town is even identified.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#165 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:04 pm

Horrorview:
This is an excellent release that fully does justice to what is one of the greatest British-made films of all time. It comes with my highest recommendation.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#166 Post by nolanoe » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:37 pm

I canot wait to own this!! \:D/

Never seen the film, so this will be the most interesting watch for me since Herostratus and The Last Movie, where I saw both in a version that was the best for the last few decades, and it was worth the wait.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#167 Post by antnield » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:19 pm


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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#168 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:06 am

The official Criterion Forum review:
This is what you get when a film is released by people that actually care about the film in question: a wonderful audio/video transfer and engaging, informative supplements that go over the film’s history and get into the nitty-gritty of the themes present. Yes, like many, I would have preferred the reconstructed version but BFI did what they could and at least got the original UK version from Warners and went all out on making this the best edition they possibly could. And they’ve succeeded. This is an incredible, absolutely wonderful edition, and it comes with the highest recommendation I can possibly give it.
Meanwhile, Mr C. De Mello, the author of the Amazon.co.uk one-star "review" (since he hasn't actually seen it yet) is still ranting away. He's now turned his fire on the BFI as a whole, saying "I don't know how anyone can have total faith in them, there is no excuse for the money they waste on the dreadful Flipside collection. While other worthwhile releases sit on the shelf."

I'm willing to bet that, as with The Devils, his comments about "the dreadful Flipside collection" are also less than perfectly informed.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#169 Post by j99 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:51 am

MichaelB wrote:Meanwhile, Mr C. De Mello, the author of the Amazon.co.uk one-star "review" (since he hasn't actually seen it yet) is still ranting away.
Excellent read! He did make a good point about the lack of a proper release for Accident, even if he got the label wrong. Bad reviews of poor DVDs of great films are justified; Rome Open City is a prime example, but there's no way The Devils should come into this category. He's way off the mark with his criticism.
Last edited by j99 on Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#170 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:00 am

j99 wrote:Bad reviews for poor DVDs of great films are justified; Rome Open City is a prime example, but there's no way The Devils should come into this category. He's way off the mark with his criticism.
Bad reviews of poor DVDs of great films are more than justified: they're essential.

But I do think that actually watching them first should be a prerequisite, and I wish Amazon would make this a requirement - though I admit that it would be impossible to enforce, which is presumably why they invite us to rate the reviews.

In fact, at the time of writing none of the twelve Amazon "reviews" is by someone who's actually watched the BFI version of The Devils, but hopefully that will change over the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Mr De Mello has deleted his "review". Probably wisely: he wasn't handling the comments thread at all well.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#171 Post by Wayward » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:22 am

I think you gave Mr De Mello more breath than he deserved.
This dvd has been long awaited by Russell fans, including myself. I remember hiring a print of this film to show at a film society event at college and it came like the longest piece of tinsel you have ever seen, after various projectionists over the years had "taken their cuts". And what was left, was hardly watchable. Ideally you would see it projected on the kind of screens we possessed , once upon a time, even in Leeds, where I first saw it : Leeds had a magnificent screen in the Merrion Centre, built so it could show cinerama, and there I saw The Devils projected from an immaculate print in the proper scope ratio, in all its glory. Russell was superb at positioning people within the frame, and I think David Watkins did a fantastic job. It must have been a nightmare to light with all those off white bricks and black costumes.
Its a shame the BBC no longer has the recording of Russell's infamous encounter with Alexander Walker( You should have used a hammer Ken!)...as that would have made a very spicy extra.
It would be nice to see The Boyfriend spruced up. The BBC recently in their tribute screening managed to show, a dreadful non scope version...There is a lot to compare between the two films with their geometry and artificial sets.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#172 Post by McCrutchy » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:14 am

I'm somewhat amused that this hasn't shipped out yet. Amazon usually ship these UK-->US orders as soon as they can even if that is the Thursday/Friday before release, but The Devils has been sitting as "Shipping Soon" since Friday morning and shows a dispatch estimate of 20 March (Tuesday).

It's almost like someone is waiting for that last-minute call from Warner to junk all the sets and refund the orders...

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#173 Post by tenia » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:35 am

MichaelB wrote:But I do think that actually watching them first should be a prerequisite, and I wish Amazon would make this a requirement - though I admit that it would be impossible to enforce, which is presumably why they invite us to rate the reviews.
They could start by blocking comment on a product not released yet...

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#174 Post by criterion10 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:36 am

I'm somewhat amused that this hasn't shipped out yet. Amazon usually ship these UK-->US orders as soon as they can even if that is the Thursday/Friday before release, but The Devils has been sitting as "Shipping Soon" since Friday morning and shows a dispatch estimate of 20 March (Tuesday).
Mine changed earlier this morning to "Processing for Dispatch," so yours should probably be changing soon as well.

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Re: The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

#175 Post by McCrutchy » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:40 am

tenia wrote:
MichaelB wrote:But I do think that actually watching them first should be a prerequisite, and I wish Amazon would make this a requirement - though I admit that it would be impossible to enforce, which is presumably why they invite us to rate the reviews.
They could start by blocking comment on a product not released yet...
Or at the very least, paring down the reviews by ASIN and not lumping the reviews of every edition in together, which often causes confusion for casual users...

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