Sunday, April 29, 2007

Where's The DVD? Ken Russell's The Devils


Over the weekend legendary director Ken Russell appeared with journalist and film historian Mark Kermode at Southampton University discussing his work, specifically his 1971 masterpiece THE DEVILS, in front of a large and receptive student body. He mentioned specifically that he had indeed recorded an audio commentary for Kermode's important 2002 restoration of his most brilliant and challenging film but that Warner Brother's was still afraid to release the film on dvd in Britain, America or anywhere else. It is also rumored that Vanessa Redgrave has also recorded a commentary for the film.

THE DEVILS is among the most amazing and thought provoking cinematic works of art I have ever seen. It is inconceivable to me that it is still not out even on a bare bones dvd.


I am including a couple of links. One details Russell's recent Southampton talk and another is to sign a petition to get this important film re-released on dvd in a deluxe edition with the commentaries and its 'Rape Of Christ" sequence intact.

Southampton Link: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2067753,00.html

Petition Link: http://www.petitiononline.com/Grandier/

Also deserving a spot on THE DEVILS dvd is Mark Kermode's astonishing documentary HELL ON EARTH, which is one of the most important documentaries on a film ever made.

If you haven't seen THE DEVILS, search down any available copy you can find. It remains one of the most spiritually and historically significant films in cinema history and it deserves to be seen.

7 comments:

cinebeats said...

Once again we seem to a have similar things on our minds Jeremy! Today I spent some time writing about Ken Russell's Tommy and I started thinking about his films a lot. The Devils has long been my favorite Russell film. As matter of fact it would easily make my list of Top 10 favorite films of all time. I really love Russell's movies and I think he's a terriblly unappreciated director.

My second favorite Russell film is the Music Lovers and that's not on DVD either. And while I'm complaining... where are the Region 1 DVDs for The Boy Friend, Lisztomania,Valentino and The Rainbow? It's really shameful that Russell's filmography is so criminally neglected. Someone needs to release a Boxset of his films and soon! Russell is not getting any younger and I'm sure he'd happily contribute commentary and in-depth interviews to any DVD presentation that was released.

Sorry about the soapbox rant, but it really bothers me that so many of films are unavailable.

Jeremy Richey said...

It really is crazy how many of his films, including several of his best, are not available. I would add to your list of Russell wants his 1964 feature "French Dressing" with Marissa Mell, "Savage Messiah" from 72, and "Whore" from 91 with Theresa Russell.
A box set would be incredible or at the very least some decent special editions of his most important films.
Thanks for your comments...

cinebeats said...

I really need to see French Dressing. It's just crininal how neglected Russell is and it's a shame that so many of his films are so hard to get a hold of.

I think we need to start some kind of "Ken Russell" Appreciation Society" in an effort to see more of his films get released. ;)

Jeremy Richey said...

I'm there on the 'Ken Russell Appreciation Society' Kimberly, the man is incredibly undervalued.
"French Dressing" is one of the only ones I haven't seen, just a handful of clips that makes me think I really need to.
Thanks for your further comments...

Neil Sarver said...

I want to join the "Ken Russell Appreciation Society"! I'm a huge fan and was recently - maybe a month ago? - trying to show his brilliance to others and was disappointed how little was available on DVD. What a terrible shame.

I've never seen anything by Russell that I wasn't utterly compelled by, even some that I saw before I was necessarily old or wise enough to understand all of the complexities of.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Neil,
Glad to see the 'Ken Russell Appreciation Society' already has three members.
I know what you mean about noticing the complexities of his films. I saw several when I was much younger and it's just as I have gotten older that I really understand just how significant and brilliant they are.
Thanks for your comments, perhaps between you, Kimberly and I, we can spread the word about how great Ken and his films are.

Rogue Spy 007 said...

"The Devils" has been a film of Ken Russell's I always thought would be fascinating to see. This trailer just made me want to see it more. I've been a fan of the other films of his I've seen, including "Gothic," "Lair of the White Worm," and "The Rainbow." Ken Russell is an extraordinary filmmaker.