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Movie Poster of the Week: “The Devils”

A gorgeous French poster for Ken Russell’s 1971 masterpiece The Devils.

A gorgeous French poster for Ken Russell's 1971 masterpiece The Devils. Based on Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudon, Russell's film is set in 17th Century France and stars Oliver Reed at his stark raving best as a libidinous priest whose downfall is brought about by Vanessa Redgrave's hunchback nun (imagine a swinging Seventies version of Doubt). The amazingly stylized sets for the film were designed by non other than a young Derek Jarman, five years before Sebastiane. Sadly, The Devils is not available on DVD though there are rumors that Warner Brothers mastered a DVD recently that was subsequently pulled from release. As we can see from the remarkably wordy US poster, they have always been rather queasy about who sees this film.

Great poster, great film… I bought a shady bootleg version of this on DVD a few years ago; the transfer is terrible but it does actually have some nice supplements. I do hope that this film being in your mind is a sly hint of some sort…
I’m imagining that the poster is also approximately as tall as I am…another nice touch, France.
It being the french poster, it should be something like 6′ × 4′ Ben. So yes, it will dwarf you.
Obviously no space on the second poster to inform punters of the presence of the greatest line in film history, bellowed by Oliver Reed as only he could “I’ll see you in hell on a living pavement of aborted bastards!”
The rumors about the restoration were confirmed as true by Ken Russell at the Florida Film Festival. As for a release…who knows? Lisztomania was also restored and there is a new UK release available so maybe Warner Bros is coming to their senses. One can only hope.
Magnificent poster. Re: “they have always been rather queasy about who sees this film.” Well, perhaps. But back in the day William Castle would pee all over himself to get a promo like that. What better way to pack the house than to tell everyone the film is “Visually shocking and deeply disturbing.” And it’s all true! During my video store management era, my fellow hipsters and I briefly divided the movie-going populace into two camps: those who had seen THE DEVILS, and those who had not. That’s a college kid for you. But Oliver Reed was a hero, so what can you do?

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