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Reggie W

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Title: The Devils (1971)

Tagline: Hell holds no surprises for them.

Genre: Drama, History

Director: Ken Russell

Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian, Gemma Jones, Murray Melvin, Michael Gothard, Georgina Hale, Brian Murphy, Christopher Logue, Graham Armitage, John Woodvine, Andrew Faulds, Kenneth Colley, Judith Paris, Catherine Willmer, Iza Teller, Tony Allen, Niké Arrighi, Pat Ashton, Peter Avella, Imogen Claire, Barbie Denham, Hugh Elton, Harry Fielder, Selina Gilbert, Cheryl Grunwald, Charles Price, Charles Rayford, Jack Sharp, Tina Simmons, Doremy Vernon

Release: 1971-07-01

Runtime: 113

Plot: In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.

 

Reggie W

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Posting this now because it is currently showing on Shudder. Probably some people know this. It is being shown in the format that just shows a small rectangular box in the center of your screen surrounded by black. Wondered why the version Shudder has is in this format.
 

cinemiracle

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Is it the full uncut version that was never seen in cinemas? I have it on dvd. Most dvd releases were the same as the cinema release.
 

Ken Koc

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I own THE DEVILS on iTunes .widescreen version when it was available for a week years ago. I also own the uncut widescreen version on DVD
 

Reggie W

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Is it the full uncut version that was never seen in cinemas? I have it on dvd. Most dvd releases were the same as the cinema release.

I did not really examine which version it was and only watched about 20 minutes of it. I also have it on DVD in the "uncut" version. I just happened to notice that it was on Shudder and so thought I would give it a look. I was not really happy with the small rectangle in the center of the screen presentation and so if I am going to watch it I would put on the DVD. I was hoping whatever Shudder was showing would be a quality presentation of the film but sadly, it is really lacking due to whatever they got their hands on not being up to snuff for today's televisions. I think the only other time I saw it presented that way was on Youtube and I just expected that Shudder would have a better version than whatever someone threw up on Youtube.

So basically, while I thought it was cool that they are showing it, I would say if you want to watch it, the DVD is still the way to go.

I keep hoping that Criterion or one of the boutique labels will get their hands on it and put out a Blu. I mean, come on Warner, you don't have to bite the bullet and release it but let someone else do it.
 

Reggie W

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I own THE DEVILS on iTunes .widescreen version when it was available for a week years ago. I also own the uncut widescreen version on DVD

Is the ITunes version better than the DVD and are they the same cut of the film, Ken?
 

Ken Koc

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The iTunes version is cut. The other version is uncut with "the rape of Christ sequence" and Sister Jeanne beginning to masturbate with a burnt bone of Oliver Reed.
 

Reggie W

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Honestly, I don't mean to knock Shudder here, actually I heartily applaud them showing it and believe it will expose more people to the picture. And really come on, so Shudder is brave enough to show it on their service but Warner still won't touch it?
 

Reggie W

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Being lazy here, but can anybody cite the different running times of the uncut and cut versions? The running time above shows 113 minutes, which I assume is the theatrical (cut) version. I will cross check what Shudder is showing via the running time but maybe the reason it is the rectangle box deal is it is the uncut version and that is what they had access to.

I would guess were they to show the cut version it would be the same as the iTunes presentation.
 

SFMike

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Warners needs to step-up and restore and release this classic on Blu-ray. Just put the usual trigger warnings on the front of the film and release it and stop worrying about offending the always offended Christian right.
 

Ken Koc

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Being lazy here, but can anybody cite the different running times of the uncut and cut versions? The running time above shows 113 minutes, which I assume is the theatrical (cut) version. I will cross check what Shudder is showing via the running time but maybe the reason it is the rectangle box deal is it is the uncut version and that is what they had access to.

I would guess were they to show the cut version it would be the same as the iTunes presentation.
The uncut version I have is widescreen
 

Ken Koc

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111 minutes is the uncut version running time. The cut version is 108 minutes.
SHUDDER is showing 109 minutes... the cut version. It's not letterboxed???
There is a documentary called HELL ON EARTH which is all about THE DEVILS. It was showing on KINO CULT. In that documentary, the censored scenes are shown.
 

usrunnr

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Geez. What is in that 3 minute difference? I've never seen this film. I presume from the preview that there are no musical numbers.
 

Reggie W

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111 minutes is the uncut version running time. The cut version is 108 minutes.
SHUDDER is showing 109 minutes... the cut version. It's not letterboxed???
There is a documentary called HELL ON EARTH which is all about THE DEVILS. It was showing on KINO CULT. In that documentary, the censored scenes are shown.

The interesting thing is the various versions and the listed running times. The version I have is the one Mark Kermode got involved with and this small passage claims that version is 117 minutes long. Now it does say Kermode found scenes in the Warner vaults and reinserted them into the picture:

The extended version of the film (running approximately 117 minutes) with the aforementioned footage restored, was screened for the first time in London on 25 November 2002, along with a making-of documentary titled Hell on Earth, produced for Channel 4.[56] The extended version was procured by Mark Kermode, who uncovered the footage in the Warner Bros. vaults.[57] The film remained banned in Finland for over 30 years, until it was lifted in November 2001.
 

Reggie W

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Geez. What is in that 3 minute difference? I've never seen this film. I presume from the preview that there are no musical numbers.

Well, here is some explanation of that....

The explicit sexual and violent content, paired with its commentary on religious institutions, resulted in the film suffering significant censorship.[1][46] Commenting on the film's controversial nature, Reed stated: "We never set out to make a pretty Christian film. Charlton Heston made enough of those... The film is about twisted people."[47] The British Board of Film Censors found the film's combination of religious themes and violent sexual imagery a serious challenge, particularly as the Board was being lobbied by socially conservative pressure groups such as the Festival of Light at the time of its distribution.[48] In order to gain a release and earn a British 'X' certificate (suitable for those aged 18 and over), Russell made minor cuts[49] to the more explicit nudity (mainly in the cathedral and convent sequences), details from the first exorcism (mainly that which indicated an anal insertion), some shots of the crushing of Grandier's legs, and a pantomime sequence during the climactic burning.[50] Russell later said:

Trevelyan's objections to my original cut were that the scenes of torture—such as the skewering of Grandier’s tongue with needles, or the breaking of his knees—simply went on too long. To him, these scenes needed only a few frames to tell the audience what was happening; after that, the sounds and their imaginations would fill in the rest. With the exception of one sequence ("The Rape of Christ”) which was removed in its entirety, all Trevelyan did was to tone down or reduce the scenes as I had cut them.[51]

The most significant cuts were made by Warner Bros. studios, prior to submission to the BBFC. Two notable scenes were removed in their entirety: One was a two-and-a-half-minute sequence featuring naked nuns sexually defiling a statue of Christ, which includes Father Mignon looking down on the scene and masturbating.[53] Another scene near the end of the film showed Sister Jeanne masturbating with the charred femur of Grandier after he is burned at the stake.[54][55] Because of its content, the former scene has been popularly referred to as the "Rape of Christ" sequence.[56][57]

The British theatrical cut, which runs 111 minutes, was given an 'X' certificate (no one under 18 years of age admitted) in the United Kingdom.[58] In the United States, the film was truncated even further for theatrical release: The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) cut it to approximately 108 minutes, and also awarded it an 'X' rating.[1] Russell expressed frustration with the censorship of the film, commenting that they “killed the key scene” [the Rape of Christ] and that "Warner Brothers cut out the best of The Devils."[1] Speaking on the American version of the film, Russell said the cuts "adversely affected the story, to the point where in America the film is disjointed and incomprehensible."
[59]
 

Reggie W

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SHUDDER is showing 109 minutes... the cut version. It's not letterboxed???

No, it is pillar boxed, black bars above, below, and on each side of the picture. I don't see this much and was surprised they were showing it in that format.
 
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