Any Word on Ken Russell's The Devils

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Greg_M, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    Any Word on Ken Russell's film "The Devils"? Warner annoucned the DVD last year (with art work) then quickly pulled all infomation on it. Then they issued a press release stating the film would not be released during 2008.

    Did the Studio ever give a reason why this title was pulled? Will it still come out? What's the story? Dozen's of clips started to appear on You-Tube but then they were quickly pulled by the Studio.

    Does the subject matter have anything to do with the hold up?

    When this film first opened in NY it opened at the Fine Arts Theater and in LA at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills - both highly respected art film theaters in their day.

    Any word on this would be welcome since we have been waiting over 10 years for this film to appear on DVD.

    If the Walmarts and Best Buys don't want to carry it, can't Warner Bros do an exclusive mail order through Amazon or somthing like that?
     
  2. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

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    THE DEVILS has been restored to it's original pre-censorship length and played on UK TV (along with a new doco) a couple of years back. (The censored footage had been missing for over three decades and was found completely by luck after a vault search). The British TV broadcast version (+ doco) is not officially available on DVD. I'll mention that Paramount's FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET (a Dario Argento film from the same period) also wasn't officially available on DVD until this week, but it evidently took a (hard to tell) widely publicised unofficial European DVD release of uncertain origin last year to prompt Paramount to license FOUR FLIES to Mya Communications, which led to the current DVD release of that movie. Judging from threads on numerous genre message boards, Warner Bros. really should push forward and get the film out on DVD legitimately to prevent themselves losing royalties in a similar manner from a much-requested classic title that they themselves own. Warner, there are folks out there who want to buy a restored S.E DVD of this movie and would happily give you their own money for the privilege. A more sarcastic person than myself would be suggesting at this point that maybe the recession isn't biting them as hard as others and they can afford to turn down royalty profits on what would likely be a good-selling DVD if done right.

    The never-confirmed theory as to the hold-up was that such a controversial film, suffused with religious themes and potentially able to provoke debate, wasn't really going to fly for a major corporate studio in the USA during the Bush years, especially in its uncut version. More recently, Marc Morris, a UK-based researcher and licensor who has worked with numerous DVD companies in licensing cult titles, bluntly said on his own Cult Movies messageboard that he thought Warner now had too many religious fundamentalists working for them to be capable of releasing such a title on disc. There's some interest in the fact that the originally leaked DVD cover-art from a year or two ago was apparently classified by a Warner spokesperson as 'a mistake' rather than a fabrication or prank, subtly suggesting that the cover art had been generated internally in line with a mooted DVD release at some point until naysayers within the company pulled the plug.

    Warner has touched on THE DEVILS in HTF chats time and again as an eventual title, but these days I'll believe it when I see it. Ken Russell turns 82 in just a few months. Has he recorded a commentary for it yet? Hard to say. Will he live to see probably his finest film, made with his key actor and both at the peak of their powers, released to the public in the form he originally intended? Also hard to say, but given the endless delay from Warners on making good of their promise of doing THE DEVILS justice, I'm not feeling optimistic.
     
  3. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    A studio would sell their mother if it would make money. Warner would release this if they thought it would sell. If they are worried about bootleg companies then they're in real trouble because there's been at least three "unofficial" versions of this to show up all over the place. No one knows this film well enough to stir up that much trouble.
     
  4. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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  5. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Just be aware that he was giving an opinion and not posting some sort of truth that he got from the studio. For years everyone said Warner wouldn't release CRUISING and they gave the same reasons.
     
  6. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    If Warner can release "The Exorcist" why wouldn't they release "The Devils" - it's not half as obscene as parts of that film and no little girls were violated in "the Devils" which isn't about exorcism but politics and the abuse of politics
     
  7. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    >> Warner now had too many religious fundamentalists working for them to be capable of releasing such a title on disc.
    --------
    hmmmmm Then I cant wait for 'Left Behind' 3,4,5,6,7,8,9---
    or to get a re-fogged up EYES WIDE SHUT (missed out the first time)
    well...actually I can
    This would be like having a job a antichrist central-when you look at all the other 'nonfamily/christian' content they release.
    And remember-the Fundies kept Warner from releasing the undoctored EYES WIDE SHUT for years on DVD. Now you can purchase it.
    What the h*ll happened?
     
  8. JackKay

    JackKay Second Unit

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    I would buy it in a N Y minute. Come on WB!
     
  9. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Supporting Actor

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    I've been interested in seeing "The Devils" ever since I read Roger Ebert's hilarious zero star review, easily one of the most sarcastic he's ever written. Favorite quote:
     
  10. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

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    Russell said this in the UK in early 2007.
    'It's all finished and it looks beautiful,' says Russell. 'It was due to be released on DVD last year - I even recorded a director's commentary track - but it seems that after all this time, the studio are still as frightened by the complete uncut film as they were when they first saw it.'"
    And Kermode - frankly pissed at Warners - said this about the subject on his BBC video blog late last year:
    BBC - Mark Kermode - Opinion: The Devils Across the Deep Blue Sea - Kermode Uncut Video Blog
     
  11. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    I have written Criterion about them trying to license The Devils from Warner as I have strong doubts that Warner will ever release this film uncut.
    I feel Criterion may be the best chance this film has of seeing an uncut DVD release, especially since they are in talks with Warner about possible licenses.
    I would ask everyone, who like me is dying to see a legitimate release of this film, to please write to Criterion.
    Thanks!
     
  12. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Criterion, I strongly suspect, would take this on in a heartbeat; they aren't the problem. If there's any pleading to be made, it should be direct to Warner. [​IMG]
     
  13. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    But why wouldn't Warner want to make some money on a film that they don't intend to release?? I don't understand it, too me it doesn't make sense. I would at least like for Criterion to bring up the possibility with Warner....who knows, Warner may do it just so they won't have to hear people ask about the film in every chat[​IMG]
     
  14. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    yes, but Disney will not release "Song of the South" for image reasons - no matter how much money they may make. If Criterion were to release it they would have to take Warner's name off the film.
     
  15. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    I'm sorry, but I don't see any reason for Warner to be worried about a Criterion release of this film. I also think that any backlash they would receive would be much less than what they may, especially if Criterion releases the film.
     
  16. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

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    Ron Epstein noted after the most recent Warner chat that he'd spoken to Warner on the phone about THE DEVILS and a few other contentious titles, and they'd told him the reason for the delay, (whatever it may be), mentioning that all may be revealed if and when Warner do release the movie. Bottom line is something is holding the release of the movie up, none of us know precisely what it is, and the film likely has as much chance of release now as it did 5 years ago, and may still have 5 years hence.
    The infamous 'rape of Christ' scene missing from the movie until it gets restored is shown pretty much in its entirety right here, just a few minutes into this clip when the cast gather at Russell's home to watch the movie. Is this footage unreleasable? Beats me.
    YouTube - Hell on Earth - The Desecration & Resurrection of "The Devils" (2004) 5/6
     
  17. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    I suspect that if and when this is ever released the words "rape of Christ" will appear nowhere on the packaging - it will instead refer generically to "notorious censored sequence" or something. [​IMG]
     
  18. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Thanks for that info Anthony. I would love to know what is actually holding it up...is it a rights issue or a substance issue? I still believe it is a substance issue which is why I don't have much hope of seeing this released by Warner anytime soon.
     
  19. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    So Ron knows why "the Devils" hasn't been released?
     
  20. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    That's what he says. Can't imagine he'd fib about it.
     

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