Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Devils$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Darren Arnold

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325758

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325758.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022



(p.71) Chapter 4: Themes
The Devils

Darren Arnold

Liverpool University Press

This chapter evaluates the themes prevalent in Ken Russell's The Devils (1973). A key message in The Devils, which creeps up on the audience rather subtly, given Russell's rather unjust reputation as a sledgehammer of a director, concerns the misery and destruction which can result when politics and religion jump into bed together. As the film's final, spectacular shot reveals the ruins of the magnificent city walls shown near the start of the film, the scale of the horror of what has occurred really resonates; these bookends chillingly convey the film's main point. It was Cardinal Richelieu's desire to build a new, centralised (and Protestant-free) France in which, as he puts it to Louis XIII in the opening scene, ‘Church and State are one’, which has led to the destroyed walls of Loudun at the end, and it is clear to see who has blood on their hands. Russell said The Devils was his only political film, and one can just about taste his revulsion at the unholy marriage that has occurred between Church and State; the film presents a compelling argument for the separation of the two entities, which eventually came to pass in France in 1905.

Keywords:   Ken Russell, The Devils, politics, religion, France, Church, State, Loudon, political film

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.