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The Devils is a celebrated 1971 picture based on the Loudun demonology trials in the 17th century, scripted by Ken Russell from Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun (1952) and the 1961 play by John Whiting (1918-63). The Devils was undoubtedly director Russell's most notorious hour. It was the site of conflicts between the filmmakers, the American film studio (Warners), the censors and the critics.

A tour-de-force of direction (and organization and production), the most significant contribution to The Devils may well be the screenplay - and Ken Russell has the screen credit for the script. Which makes The Devils all the more remarkable. (And as if writing the script and directing the movie wasn't enough, Russell also co-produced it.)

It's clear from the first few minutes of The Devils that Ken Russell was on fire as a filmmaker when he made this picture (he was certainly on fire at the period in his film career - not only The Devils but also The Music Lovers and The Boy Friend were playing at the same time in central London theatres. Incredible - I can't think of another British movie-maker with three big (and very different) movies in release at the same time).

Ken Russell was happy with what he'd achieved in The Devils: 'The Devils is the most successful film I've done, insofar as what I expected is there. The effects I aimed at seemed to work'. In The Devils, Russell was operating with a giant canvas, and you can see that the director is in complete control of the form, and of this movie (which gives the audience confident in the storytellers; this movie really knows what it's doing).

This book about The Devils contains lengthy chapters on every aspect of director Ken Russell. A filmmaker like no other, Russell remains one of cinema's extraordinary talents, a creator of masterpieces such as The Devils, Tommy and The Music Lovers, and a body of work that flies from the pastoral, Romantic lyricism of Delius: Song of Summer and Elgar to the wild extremes of Lisztomania, Altered States and Mahler.

Includes: filmographies; resources; video and DVD availability; quotes from Russell; and fans on The Devils.

Fully illustrated, including many images of the movie, and Ken Russell's cinema. Bibliography and notes. ISBN 9781861715067. 244 pages.

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