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The Devils (1971) | 2015 Beyond Film Festival Review

Sympathy for The Devils: The Suppression of Ken Russell’s Delirious, Incomparable Masterpiece

Despite the pronounced pedigree of its origins, Ken Russell’s glorious 1971 film The Devils is still mysteriously unavailable in the United States. An infamously plagued reception continues to usurp deserved attention away from its subversive content, though a growing legion of champions within the critical arena which had once sacrilegiously abandoned it has resulted in its growing recuperation.

Based, very loosely on a 1952 novel by literary giant Aldous Huxley depicting the downfall of 17th century French priest Urbain Grandier, it relates an incidence of hysteria and mob mentality run amok in the totalitarian paradigm of the Catholic Church. Russell, his project backed by none other than Warner Bros. studio itself, crafted an off-putting extravaganza of a film (shall we say, making Huxley’s text more Grandier) depicting events decried as pure blasphemy.

Wit unabashedly blunt sexual

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