Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Devils (1971)

Director: Ken Russell

Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian, Gemma Jones, Murray Melvin, Michael Gothard, Georgina Hale, Brian Murphy, Christopher Logue

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Devils is not a film for everyone.

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.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity!

This is considered to be the Granddaddy of Nunsploitation films.  It's certainly the one that caused the biggest splash in controversy.  It could be because the nuns end up being a bunch of horndogs, all lusting after sex.  

We can't leave out the 'Ravishing 'O' the Jesus'.

Cirque du Nun!

I guess the church doesn't like such things.  Wankers.

It's a beautifully shot film - the cinematography (David Watkin) and art direction (Robert Cartwright) are outstanding.


The performances of Redgrave and Reed are compelling as is the story but it takes a turn halfway through that follows a course of dissonant music and imagery that send the characters in unexpected and horrific directions.

You might recognize Michael Gothard from FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981)

Peter Maxwell Davies' score is, rightfully so, hard to listen to in the second half.  It's often heard over the screams and caucophany of sound that play up the insanity of what's happening on screen to the convent and to Grandier (Reed).  I've seen this before but not such a great looking print as this.

I've got forty-something Nunsploitation pictures to watch over the next couple of months but I'm willing to bet that this is the most intelligent, thought provoking and art house-y films of the bunch. While it does have a bit of sleaze, it pales to some of the genre films that followed but this is about as close to having your cake and eating it, too, that you're likely to get with highbrow Nunsploitation.

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