I personally have always found it astounding that Ken Russell’s controversial but brilliant 1971 film The Devils, a searing, hallucinatory drama of religious hysteria, political persecution and the corrupt marriage of church and state set in 17th century France, with has never had an official DVD releaseHowever, that is about to change.  BFI are going to release the movie on DVD on March 12th next year.  Here are the special features:

• DVD premiere presentation of the original UK ‘X’ certificate version
• Newly filmed introduction with director Ken Russell
• Audio commentary with Ken Russell, Mark Kermode, Mike Bradsell and Paul Joyce
• Hell on Earth (Paul Joyce, 2002, 48 mins): documentary exploring the film’s production and the controversy surrounding its original release
• Director of the Devils (1971, 21 min): documentary featuring candid Ken Russell interviews and unique footage of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies recording his celebrated film score
• Original on-set footage with commentary by editor Mike Bradsell
• Amelia and the Angel (Ken Russell, 1958, 30 mins): Ken Russell’s short film, a delightful mix of religious allegory and magical fantasy
• Original UK trailer
• Original US trailer
• Fully illustrated booklet featuring new essays and notes from Mark Kermode, Craig Lapper (BBFC), Sam Ashby and others

However, fans have already been voicing their disappointment that the version of the film is not the version that has been circulating on bootleg DVDs for a while.  That edition restored one important scene to the film, a major hallucination sequence which has been called ‘The Rape Of Christ’, which had appeared on the ‘Hell On Earth’ documentary which was first shown on Channel 4 in 2002.  It seems that this scene is also missing from the version of this documentary on thDVD, and the film is only appearing on DVD, not Blu Ray,so what is going on?  It seems that Warner Bros US seriously object to the scene and will only license the original theatrical cut, while they also seem to have always disliked the film as a whole, so a DVD only release is all they may want.

Still, it’s better than nothing, and the array of special features goes some way to making up for the problems.


Dr Lenera
About Dr Lenera 2636 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.


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