'The Devils' comes to R2 - what about R1?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jon Robertson, Jul 3, 2002.

  1. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Ken Russell's completely berserk would-be masterpiece The Devils is coming to R2 DVD from Warner Brothers.
    Although not officially mentioned, all logic dictates the new full-width scope transfer (unlike the semi-widescreen 16:9 VHS and BBC print) will be made from the recent reconstruction and restoration of the film, reinstating the sex and violence originally removed in 1971 at the behest of the BBFC.
    It will contain the trailer, a commentary by Ken Russell (hooray!) and a new 47-minute documentary "Hell on Earth". The original date of September has been scrapped with no new one given, but any UK fans can pre-order it for the entirely reasonable sum of £12.99 here.
    Now it remains to be seen whether this version will make it across the Atlantic, given Warner Bros rigid "No NC-17" policy. But at least it will exist somewhere.
     
  2. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    OK, that's it, I'm getting some multiregion equipment. Not gonna wait on Warner for an R1.
     
  3. Derek M Germano

    Derek M Germano Second Unit

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    Warner should just license THE DEVILS out to the Criterion Collection and be done with it.
    At least under the Criterion Collection banner, THE DEVILS would maintain a sense of prestige and Warner could avoid the old NC-17 problem.
     
  4. Kim Donald

    Kim Donald Stunt Coordinator

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    As a big Ken Russell fan I have had this on order since it was first listed it's my second most wanted Ken Russell film.

    a few other Russell films not in R1 Out/Coming Out in R2

    The Rainbow (Out Now)
    Lady Chatterley (Out Now)
    Delius: Song Of Summer(Out Now)
    Elgar (22 July)
    Valentino (? Sept)

    With more Ken Russell films out in the US than UK its nice to see some films not out yet getting a UK release. Now it I could just get a copy of "The Boyfriend"
    kd
     
  5. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    I think Delius: Song of Summer is a perfect, wondrous film, and certainly one of the finest ever made. The beauty of its uncluttered simplicity is what makes it so breathtaking and moving. The image of a weeping Jelka scattering petals by the handful over the body of Delius lying on the chaise longue is one of the most emotional scenes I've ever seen on film.

    The R0 PAL disc from the BFI has an excellent transfer, given that it was a 16mm television film from over 30 years ago, and a Ken Russell audio commentary and biography.
     
  6. Stas T

    Stas T Stunt Coordinator

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    Having only a pseudo-'scope, 1:85 (or so) VHS version of "The Devils" (transferred from the PAL) to watch whenever the mood for Russell's dark, brilliant drama about political machinations and religious hypocrisy strikes, this news of a region 2 DVD release is welcome, if only because perhaps it means the movie will eventually make it to U.S. shores some time in the near future as well. Let's hope... or maybe write Warner.
     
  7. Stephen Pickard

    Stephen Pickard Auditioning

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    Jon, do you know if this version of "The Devils" includes the complete "Rape of Christ" sequence, which was not in the BBC version. This sequence was included in the version submitted to the BBFC. I saw this uncut version back in '70/71 when I worked at Pinewood in the sound department. I have since heard that this footage is missing or has been stolen.
     
  8. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    I don't know for certain, but last I heard it was still missing - that, or Ken Russell had no interest in putting it back in.

    Is that the scene involving nuns masturbating with wooden crucifixes?
     
  9. Stephen Pickard

    Stephen Pickard Auditioning

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    Thanks for your quick reply. The 'Rape of Christ' sequence shows the nuns, now at the point of complete hysteria, disrobe and remove the statue of Christ on the cross and commit acts of indescribable indecency on it. As I recall there are inserts of Jesus' big toes and thumbs protruding like phallic symbols covered in blood. While this is going on, the Murray Melvin character climbs a vertical ladder at the side of the cathedral, and from an alcove high up masturbates while watching the events below. His climax is shown by a series of zooms, his point of view intercut with close up shots of movement beneath his 'frock'. This scene was accompanied on the soundtrack by 'The Rite of Spring'! I think this sequence was meant to be intercut with the wedding of Grandier (Oliver Reed) to Gemma Jones' character.
     
  10. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Right - I really hope this is going to be reinserted!

    Thanks very much for the description! It sounds like a very crucial scene, and I hope my sources were incorrect. The disc was originally announced without any special features, so it sounds like it's been delayed to add the commentary and documentary.

    Even if that footage isn't in the finished film, I'm certain the documentary will cover it (using stills perhaps).
     
  11. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

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    Recent comments by Russell indicated that the Rape of Christ sequence would not be insterted either because (a.) Russell now thought it was tasteless, or (b.) the sequence has been lost. Russell commented on the scene's excision in an issue of Video Watchdog a few years ago and mentioned that he could "..remember seeing the reel of footage sitting on the editor's desk", and that he wished someone had kept track of what happened to it.

    Stranger things have happened though, and if Warner really did scour the vaults for excised DEVILS material, maybe they were able to track it down. It'd be nice to see it, but if it's not included you can assume that the reel in question has joined that great film vault in the sky alongside the missing footage from THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, the excised scenes from Tod Browning's FREAKS, the bulk of Sam Fuller's three hour cut of THE BIG RED ONE and any print at all of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. In other words, gone for good...
     
  12. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Outstanding news - the upcoming "Hell on Earth" documentary about the film is by Mark Kermode, who's done the great UK documentaries on The Exorcist, The French Connection and, as you will later see, Blade Runner.
    This from his weekly FilmFour column:
     
  13. Jussi Tarvainen

    Jussi Tarvainen Second Unit

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    I definitely want to see the uncut version. The British Board of Film Classification web site lists the original runtime as 112 min 28 seconds; based on that informtion, the uncut PAL version should then be 107 min 58 sec. Play.com lists the runtime as 106 min; this could imply that the version used for the DVD is the 106 min 41 sec version cut around the film's original release.
    Sigh. [​IMG]
    Regardless, hope remains and we may be pleasantly surprised. At least the documentary might have the cut footage.
     
  14. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Play have the date as To Be Announced, so in the light of all this new footage being discovered, the film might yet be lengthened before it hits the shelves. Besides, it won't come out until after the new documentary has had a screening on Channel Four.
     

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