Without any advanced warning, horror-centric streaming service Shudder just released one of the most obscure yet controversial genre films in cinematic history. According to today’s press release, this is the first time that the 109-minute unrated cut of The Devils, directed by Ken Russell, has been available in the U.S. since 1971.
Related Article: The Devils (1971) Review
This cut of the film has long been considered a Holy Grail among those obsessed with rare and lost cinema. AVClub.com gives an excellent, concise history of the turbulent production:
Here’s the abbreviated backstory: The Devils, about a rebellious priest accused of witchcraft in 17th century France, was condemned by the Catholic Church as blasphemous upon its initial release. And Warner Bros., the studio that financed it, has been doing its best to bury the film ever since. The film was heavily censored in both the U.K. and U.S. for subsequent theatrical and home-video releases, and it wasn’t until 2012 that the BFI released a complete-ish 107-minute version of the film on DVD in the U.K. In recent years, the BFI’s print of the film has been touring repertory theaters and film festivals around the world, but until this morning, it was entirely unavailable on streaming services.
Check out a trailer for the film, along with the official synopsis and poster below. See The Devils on Shudder now, HERE.
Official Synopsis: 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. The film stars Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, and Dudley Sutton.
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