List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Well… I don’t think I have ever quite seen a film like this. This is one of the few times that I can actually understand why the Catholic church got all up in arms. A film where nuns strip naked, wrench a cross off the wall and start to sexually assault the statue of Jesus is one where I can agree with charges of blasphemy.
Here’s the thing though, The Devils is based on true events known as the Loudon possessions where mass hysteria took over the fortified town of Loudon where the local nuns were said to be possessed by various demons. In actual fact, the way that the film deals with the demonic charges levied at local priest Urbain Grandier (played here by Oliver Reed) is tame compared to a lot of the crap that went on.
The instigator of these charges? The abbess of the nun’s order who appears to have become so obsessed with the local priest that she started this ridiculous witch-hunt after he became properly involved with a woman. Vanessa Redgrave really does not miss a beat in her portrayal of this twisted, sex-starved nun. She is unsettling, terrifying and yet (don’t know how she did this) oddly sympathetic in her misguided obsessions.
With orgies, torture and more vaginas onscreen than you can count on your fingers and toes it really is not like a film I have ever seen before. Outside of Salo.
So, I have been able to write about two films in one go because She Done Him Wrong was just so pathetic. Seriously, I understand why this movie is on the list from a historical standpoint. It is meant to be the film that saved Paramount from bankruptcy and it is an example of the force of vaudeville nature nature that was Mae West. On a lesser note it is also the shortest film to have been nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture.
In the end though, this is a very very dated film. The entire film is obviously build around Mae West’s character, to the point that the first 10 minutes of the film is people talking about how wonderful and beautiful her character is. Then she bursts onto the screen with one-liners (some which are really good), innuendo and a very thick Brooklyn accent. Her acting is stilted and the story is convoluted to the point that it is just stupid.