How is it that Kermode and Russell are friends? I've had the impression from various sources that The Devils is loved for being obnoxious and trippy. As a Russell fan I've always been curious to see the film because of its notoriety, but that's all I've ever heard in relation to its merit - the controversy surrounding it. But Kermode approaches it as a serious film? Wouldn't Russell find that beside the point?
This is a very serious movie. If you think you know what Russell is all about, watch this movie first and then start making assumptions. Kermode has every right to consider The Devils
an important movie. And it is anything but obnoxious (a term that could be used to define Lisztomania
on a first seating, perhaps) or trippy (please do NOT watch this movie on drugs! An extremely
bad trip is guaranteed for all, if The Beatles don't mind me mis
The Devils is based on actual events that took place in Loudon, France and is about a suposed case of nun's possession and the fight of power between Richelieu, the King himself and Father Grandier. It's all been extensively dealt with in many books, the most important being Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudon
So, when you got an extremely prophane story on your hands, where bad and ruthless politics run amock and you mix it with the one of the most outrageous scores ever commited to film, invite Derek Jarman to do your sets designs, shoot it with the grandest vision possible (at times overwhelming) and pull amazing performances from even the most mundane actors, the final result is a killer of a movie and a landmark of british cinema.
The fact that it was chopped to bits at its release, doesn't surprise me in the least. You'll see what I mean after you've watched through the whole business.
Kermode's association with Russell began when his love and admiration for the movie drove him on a quest to find the now no longer lost centerpiece of The Devils
: a scene most commonly known as The Rape of Christ. This fantastic sequence was presumed lost, having been cut by Warner at the time of its release. Russell himself had lost faith that anyone could ever hope to find it but luckily Kermode came to the rescue and did just that (and a big round of applause to him, gentlemen!).
The film has now been completely restored by the same studio that chopped it off to bits to its complete director's cut (reinstating even more minor scenes that over the years have also been deleted; talk about a patchwork indeed) and this is the version that we will be getting on a future DVD release that is sure to be announced very soon.
Hmm, make of this what you will - from the imdb.com boards:
Yes, just like "O Lucky Man", "The World, The Flesh and The Devil" (1959), "Performance", etc., "The Devils" won't be out until 2007.
I called them. Their number: London 0207 984 6480, DVD customer service.
All these films were promised by Warner for 2006 & now they are for 2007, so annoying, & they don't even explain why!
I wonder if the guy or girl answering the phone was refering to R1 or R2 releases. That is, assuming this guy called them and they were telling him the truth. That Warner chat cannot come soon enough!
From the Warner chat:
Warner is still discussing The Devils for release.