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The Devil

6 customer reviews

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The Devil + On the Silver Globe
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Editorial Reviews

A political allegory wrapped in the guise of a gory horror film, Andrzej Zulawski s THE DEVIL did not escape the wrath of communist censorship. The film was banned in Poland for 15 years, before getting a sporadic release in 1987
Jakub (Leszek Teleszynski), a young 18th century nobleman, rots in prison for conspiring against the king. A mysterious stranger frees him, but in exchange he demands a list of Jakub's fellow conspirators. Jakub follows the stranger on a journey across a nightmarish, snowbound countryside where they witness countless acts of brutal violence. Affected by the overall chaos and moral corruption, the young nobleman descends into madness.
THE DEVIL is a lost treasure of Eastern European cinema and a unique addition to the horror genre.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Malgorzata Braunek, Iga Mayr, Wiktor Sadecki, Maciej Englert, Monika Niemczyk
  • Directors: Andrzej Zulawski
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: FACETS
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2007
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UL61D4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,591 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M. Lucas on April 23, 2009
Anyone who has an interest in Eastern European cinema probably knows the label Facets, the grin-and-bear-it, necessary-evil company that distributes most major titles of Czech and Polish classics in the US in barely tolerable (or intolerable) releases that skirt bootleg quality. They distribute DVDs for PolArt, which issues "unauthorized" releases of Polish films -- whatever that means.

The two PolArt Zulawski releases, The Devil and On the Silver Globe, are pretty much the only available releases of these films here or in the UK. It could be worse -- these are not unwatchable, and fans of the filmmaker will want to catch these films in whatever form they can get them in.

But I wouldn't buy these releases. Mondo Vision has been issuing superb editions of Zulawski films (La femme publique, and The Most Important Thing: Love is coming soon), and apparently holds the rights to almost all of the Zulawski catalogue, including these two films. I would hazard a guess that its only a matter of time before these two films get a beautiful, worthy release for about the same price as these shoddy pseudo-bootlegs.

Just hold out a little while longer, Zulawski fans.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brzostek on April 19, 2008
Andrzej Zulawski's The Devil (Diabel) is a portrait of insanity. It is a horror movie that not everyone will appreciate. The reason for that would mostly be due to it not being sensible. Many of the people in the film act like they are drugged out, there is a theatrical feeling to the way they talk and unquestionably many of them act insane. To say the movie is surrealistic would be an understatement. The Devil is like stepping into a world of insanity.

The story starts out with a crafty beaded man dressed in black entering an asylum run by nuns in 1793, when the Prussians took over part of Poland. He frees a political prisoner, Jakub, moments before the Prussian army goes in and murders everyone there. His liberator becomes a sort of strange guide and tries to influence his morals.

Jakub's guide is very animated and shows him various places as they travel together in the countryside. His impish guide seems all knowing. The people Jakub meets are deeply affected by the war and appear insane. The moral decay Jakub observes influences him. At the urging of his guide, he is transformed into a murderer.

Although The Devil may appear senseless at first, there is meaning in it. At first, my impression was that we are seeing insanity caused by war. But I also thought it suggests the real cause of war and insanity is sin. Of course, just as with great literature, there are many possible messages one could reveal from this film. Furthermore, there are also political comments weaved throughout the entire movie dealing with patriotism and invaders.

The Devil is unquestionably different. The fact that it is a horror, which is relatively rare in Polish cinema, makes it stand out compared to other Polish films.
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By Luke on November 13, 2014
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Argentinians have their Alejandro Jodorowsky, Americans have their David Lynch, and Poles have their Andrzej Zulawski.
What makes these movie directors stand out is their unique cinematic style. All three named above, make their own
type of cinema that can only be described as: original, disturbing, unorthodox, innovative, independent, etc.

Zulawski's The Devil (1972) filmed on location in south-western Poland, a region known for its beautiful castles, deep forestry, and hiking trails, tells the story of a nobleman, Jacob, who gets freed from political prison and journeys back to the home of his father...the journey is incoherent and misogynistic, the people he once knew are no longer the same people he remembered...there is not one sane person amongst the characters...what makes things worse is the background setting of the story, which takes place in 1793 during the second partition of Poland and just in time when the Prussian armies are invading Poland from the west. The kingdom of Poland is in disarray, with internal faction fighting with one another, and governmental institutions either capitulating or complying with the invaders-- chaos and anarchy fills the screen---

Zulawski perfectly captures the atmosphere of lawlessness and misery in this film...plenty of dirt, mud, blood, shivering cold, and muggy-empty forests only add to the spectacle...displaying a nation on the brink of its extinction...

The film opens up with a mysterious horseman dressed all in black searching a nun's convent (the convent also holds a prison/asylum compound) for a political prisoner who years ago was accused of plotting the assassination of a Polish king. The opening scene sets the mood and tone for the rest of the movie. As the enigma man runs through the halls of the convent to find his prisoner he encounters people shouting, screaming from pain and fear, he sees men getting killed, women raped,...a total chaos where rules no longer apply...
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