Eye of the Devil


1h 29m 1967
Eye of the Devil

Brief Synopsis

A French nobleman deserts his wife because of an ancient family secret.

Film Details

Also Known As
13
Genre
Horror
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
New York opening: 6 Dec 1967: Sep 1967
Production Company
Filmways, Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Day of the Arrow by Philip Loraine (New York, 1964).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.66 : 1

Synopsis

When Philippe de Montfaucon (the Marquis de Bellac) is informed that for the 3d successive year his vineyards near Bordeaux have failed to produce, he instructs his wife, Catherine, to remain in Paris and then leaves for his ancestral chateau. But Catherine, disturbed by his behavior, follows a few days later with their two children. Upon arriving at the chateau, she is greeted coldly by Countess Estelle, Philippe's aunt, diffidently by Père Dominic, the local priest, and disdainfully by the menacing Christian de Caray and his equally hostile sister, Odile. Informed that her husband has gone to a nearby town for the day, Catherine wanders into a chamber in the chateau and accidentally spies Philippe and 12 other men engaged in a mystic ceremonial rite. She is soon afterward terrorized in the Bellac woods by 12 hooded men, and later she learns that Philippe's father, believed dead, is actually living in a turret of the chateau. From him she hears of the dreadful fate her husband has set for himself: tradition decrees that whenever the vines fail for 3 years the head of the Montfaucon family must offer his life's blood as a sacrifice to the barren earth. Horrified, Catherine races from the chateau to summon help. But she is stopped by Père Dominic and taken back to Bellac, while Philippe and the 12 hooded horsemen ride through the village. She escapes but is too late to prevent the death ritual as Christian shoots an arrow into her husband's heart. The next day Catherine leaves with her children, vowing never to return. But she is unaware of the significant glances exchanged between Père Dominic and her young son, Jacques. The new Marquis de Bellac already knows that the ancient tradition must be carried on.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Promo

Film Details

Also Known As
13
Genre
Horror
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
New York opening: 6 Dec 1967: Sep 1967
Production Company
Filmways, Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Day of the Arrow by Philip Loraine (New York, 1964).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.66 : 1

Articles

Eye of the Devil - Eye of the Devil


Does it really seem surprising that a film entitled Eye of the Devil (1967) would experience a cursed production schedule? Initially, Kim Novak was cast in the lead but had to withdraw from the film with a back injury after eighty per cent of it had been shot. Julie Andrews was then considered as a replacement until the producers, Martin Ransohoff and John Calley, decided on Deborah Kerr. With Kerr firmly in place, the film crew returned to the castle of Brives les Gaillards in France in the dead of winter to re-shoot the scenes previously filmed there with Novak. Along the way there were more script changes required, resulting in Terry Southern dropping out of the project and being replaced by screenwriters Robin Estridge and Dennis Murphy. The film also went through three directors - Sidney J. Furie, Arthur Hiller, and Michael Anderson - before J. Lee Thompson was brought in to complete the project. After all the hard work and expense, the working title of 13 was changed to Eye of the Devil. The film was then unceremoniously dumped in block bookings without any fanfare. Two years after its release, co-star Sharon Tate would be murdered at her home along with four other people by members of the Manson family.

Despite all the bad luck that plagued Eye of the Devil, it still stands as a remarkably stylish and unusual entry in the field of occult horror films. Most critics didn't appreciate it at the time of its release because they felt that such distinguished actors as Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Flora Robson, and Emlyn Williams were too good to be wasted in this type of genre film. Seen today, the excellent casting is one of the film's strongest assets along with Erwin Hillier's arty cinematography.

The unusual plot, which could be considered a precursor to The Wicker Man, another occult thriller that achieved cult status in the seventies, stars David Niven as a wealthy vineyard owner who begins acting strangely after his grape crop fails for the third year in a row. His wife, played by Deborah Kerr, notices that there are plenty of other things amiss on the estate as well. For instance, there's a sinister young man (David Hemmings) who hunts doves and his creepy sister Odile (Sharon Tate) who could be a witch. And of course, it's hard to ignore that weird group of hooded men filing through the woods - which leads Ms. Kerr to the conclusion that her husband is destined for some horrible fate. You know, she's right!

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Producer: Martin Ransohoff, John Calley
Screenplay: Robin Estridge, Dennis Murphy (based on the novel Day of the Arrow by Philip Loraine)
Cinematography: Erwin Hillier
Music: Gary McFarland
Cast: David Niven (Philippe de Montfaucon), Deborah Kerr (Catherine de Montfaucon), Donald Pleasance (Pere Dominic), Flora Robson (Countess Estell), Emlyn Williams (Alain de Montfaucon), Sharon Tate (Odile), David Hemmings (Christian de Caray), John Le Mesurier (Dr. Monnet), Edward Mulhare (Jean-Claude Ibert).
BW-96m. Letterboxed

by Jeff Stafford
Eye Of The Devil  - Eye Of The Devil

Eye of the Devil - Eye of the Devil

Does it really seem surprising that a film entitled Eye of the Devil (1967) would experience a cursed production schedule? Initially, Kim Novak was cast in the lead but had to withdraw from the film with a back injury after eighty per cent of it had been shot. Julie Andrews was then considered as a replacement until the producers, Martin Ransohoff and John Calley, decided on Deborah Kerr. With Kerr firmly in place, the film crew returned to the castle of Brives les Gaillards in France in the dead of winter to re-shoot the scenes previously filmed there with Novak. Along the way there were more script changes required, resulting in Terry Southern dropping out of the project and being replaced by screenwriters Robin Estridge and Dennis Murphy. The film also went through three directors - Sidney J. Furie, Arthur Hiller, and Michael Anderson - before J. Lee Thompson was brought in to complete the project. After all the hard work and expense, the working title of 13 was changed to Eye of the Devil. The film was then unceremoniously dumped in block bookings without any fanfare. Two years after its release, co-star Sharon Tate would be murdered at her home along with four other people by members of the Manson family. Despite all the bad luck that plagued Eye of the Devil, it still stands as a remarkably stylish and unusual entry in the field of occult horror films. Most critics didn't appreciate it at the time of its release because they felt that such distinguished actors as Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Flora Robson, and Emlyn Williams were too good to be wasted in this type of genre film. Seen today, the excellent casting is one of the film's strongest assets along with Erwin Hillier's arty cinematography. The unusual plot, which could be considered a precursor to The Wicker Man, another occult thriller that achieved cult status in the seventies, stars David Niven as a wealthy vineyard owner who begins acting strangely after his grape crop fails for the third year in a row. His wife, played by Deborah Kerr, notices that there are plenty of other things amiss on the estate as well. For instance, there's a sinister young man (David Hemmings) who hunts doves and his creepy sister Odile (Sharon Tate) who could be a witch. And of course, it's hard to ignore that weird group of hooded men filing through the woods - which leads Ms. Kerr to the conclusion that her husband is destined for some horrible fate. You know, she's right!Director: J. Lee ThompsonProducer: Martin Ransohoff, John CalleyScreenplay: Robin Estridge, Dennis Murphy (based on the novel Day of the Arrow by Philip Loraine)Cinematography: Erwin HillierMusic: Gary McFarlandCast: David Niven (Philippe de Montfaucon), Deborah Kerr (Catherine de Montfaucon), Donald Pleasance (Pere Dominic), Flora Robson (Countess Estell), Emlyn Williams (Alain de Montfaucon), Sharon Tate (Odile), David Hemmings (Christian de Caray), John Le Mesurier (Dr. Monnet), Edward Mulhare (Jean-Claude Ibert).BW-96m. Letterboxedby Jeff Stafford

TCM Remembers - J. Lee Thompson


TCM REMEMBERS J. LEE THOMPSON, 1914 - 2002

Oscar-nominated director J. Lee Thompson died August 30th at the age of 88. Though he worked in several genres, Thompson was best-known for his action films. Thompson was born in Bristol England on August 1, 1914. After graduating from college he became a playwright and it was the appearance of one of his plays on London's famous West End that got him noticed by the British film studio, Elstree. His first filmed script was The Pride of Folly in 1937 and others appeared sporadically until his career was side-tracked during the war when Thompson served in the RAF as a B-29 tail gunner. (He also reportedly worked as a dialogue coach on Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn, 1939.) Thompson's directorial debut came in 1950 when he adapted his own play Double Error to the screen as Murder Without Crime. Throughout the decade he directed a variety of dramas and comedies until hitting it big in 1958 with Ice Cold in Alex (released in the US minus 50 minutes under the title Desert Attack). It was nominated for three BAFTAs and was enough of a commercial success that Thompson landed the film that made his career: The Guns of Navarone (1961). This enormous international hit snagged Thompson an Oscar nomination for Best Director. He immediately followed that with the original Cape Fear (1962) and his reputation was set. Though Thompson remained active almost three more decades he didn't reach that level again. He worked on Westerns (Mackenna's Gold, 1969), horror films (Eye of the Devil, 1967), literary adaptations (Huckleberry Finn, 1974) and others. During this time, Thompson directed two Planet of the Apes sequels but was kept most busy working with Charles Bronson, for whom he directed nine films. Thompson's last film was in 1989.

KATRIN CARTLIDGE, 1961 - 2002

The news of actress Katrin Cartlidge's death at the age of 41 has come as a shock. It's not just the age but the thought that even though Cartlidge was already a major actress--despite a slender filmography--she held out the promise of even greater work, a promise that so few artists of any type can make. "Fearless" is perhaps the word most often used to describe Cartlidge but emotions are never enough for an actor; much more is required. Director Mike Leigh said she had "the objective eye of an artist" while remarking on her "her deep-seated suspicion of all forms of woolly thinking and received ideas."

Cartlidge was born in London on May 15, 1961. Her first acting work was on the stage, in tiny independent theatres before she was selected by Peter Gill for the National Theatre. Cartlidge also worked as a dresser at the Royal Court where she later made one of her final stage appearances. She began appearing in the popular British TV series Brookside before making her first film in 1985, Sacred Hearts. A small role in the Robbie Coltrane-Rik Mayall vehicle Eat the Rich (1987) followed before Cartlidge had her first leading role in Mike Leigh's scathing Naked (1993).

Cartlidge never took a safe approach in her films. She told The Guardian that "I try to work with film-makers who I feel will produce something original, revealing and provoking. If something provokes a reaction, it's well worth doing." You can see this in her choice of projects. Before the Rain (1994) dramatized violence in Macedonia in the wake of the Yugoslavian break-up and made Cartlidge something of a star in the area. She appeared in Lars Von Trier's controversial look at redemption, Breaking the Waves (1996), Leigh's sharply detailed story of aging friends Career Girls (1997), as one of Jack the Ripper's victims in From Hell (2001), as a call girl trying to leave the business in Clair Dolan (1998) and in the Oscar-winning film about Bosnia-Herzegovina, No Man's Land (2001). Her last work included a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment (2002), playing Salvador Dali's wife Gala in the BBC comedy-drama Surrealissimo (2002) and an appearance in Rosanna Arquette's directorial debut, Searching for Debra Winger (also 2002), a documentary about women in the film industry.

Cartlidge died September 7th from septicaemia brought on by pneumonia.

TCM REMEMBERS LEO MCKERN, 1920-2002

The recent death of Leo McKern, 82, marked the passing of one of Britain's finest and most respected character actors. He was suffering from ill health in recent years and was moved to a nursing home a few weeks before his death on July 23 2002 in Bath, England. An actor of commanding presence with a deep-throated voice, the portly, bulbous-nosed McKern had a long, distinguished career spanning more than half a century, earning numerous plaudits along the way in all major mediums: theatre, film and television.

Born Reginald McKern on March 16, 1920 in Sydney, Australia; he served with the Australian Army during World War II and worked in regional theatre in his native Sydney before immigrating to England in 1946. It was a slow start, but after a three-year apprenticeship of painting scenery, stage-managing and acting, McKern eventually joined the celebrated Old Vic theatrical company in 1949 and proved one of the more versatile actors in the troupe tackling diverse roles in comedy, the classics and serious contemporary parts.

His film debut came in Murder in the Cathedral (1952) but it took a few years before he made his mark in cinema. Some of his best film work included roles as Peter Sellers' comic henchman in the classic satire The Mouse That Roared (1959); a bungling train robber in the charming Disney film The Horse Without a Head (1963); a nefarious professor who kills off his colleagues for amusement in the brilliant black comedy A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964); Clang, a cartoonish villain in the Beatles' pop film Help! (1965); Cromwell, the persecutor of Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons (1966) and as Thomas Ryan in the David Lean drama, Ryan's Daughter (1970).

Yet despite all the accolades McKern earned in theatre and films, it was television where he foundinternational fame as the wily, irascible barrister Horace P. Rumpole in John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey in 1975. Infusing the character with beguiling skill and energy, McKern made the acerbic, wine swilling, Tennyson-quoting Rumpole a much loved figure that was adored by critics, audiences and even its creator Mortimer. Perhaps Mortimer offered the most fitting tribute when he once referred to McKern - "His acting exists where I always hope my writing will be: about two feet above the ground, a little larger than life, but always taking off from reality." Enough said.

By Michael T. Toole

TCM Remembers - J. Lee Thompson

TCM REMEMBERS J. LEE THOMPSON, 1914 - 2002 Oscar-nominated director J. Lee Thompson died August 30th at the age of 88. Though he worked in several genres, Thompson was best-known for his action films. Thompson was born in Bristol England on August 1, 1914. After graduating from college he became a playwright and it was the appearance of one of his plays on London's famous West End that got him noticed by the British film studio, Elstree. His first filmed script was The Pride of Folly in 1937 and others appeared sporadically until his career was side-tracked during the war when Thompson served in the RAF as a B-29 tail gunner. (He also reportedly worked as a dialogue coach on Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn, 1939.) Thompson's directorial debut came in 1950 when he adapted his own play Double Error to the screen as Murder Without Crime. Throughout the decade he directed a variety of dramas and comedies until hitting it big in 1958 with Ice Cold in Alex (released in the US minus 50 minutes under the title Desert Attack). It was nominated for three BAFTAs and was enough of a commercial success that Thompson landed the film that made his career: The Guns of Navarone (1961). This enormous international hit snagged Thompson an Oscar nomination for Best Director. He immediately followed that with the original Cape Fear (1962) and his reputation was set. Though Thompson remained active almost three more decades he didn't reach that level again. He worked on Westerns (Mackenna's Gold, 1969), horror films (Eye of the Devil, 1967), literary adaptations (Huckleberry Finn, 1974) and others. During this time, Thompson directed two Planet of the Apes sequels but was kept most busy working with Charles Bronson, for whom he directed nine films. Thompson's last film was in 1989. KATRIN CARTLIDGE, 1961 - 2002 The news of actress Katrin Cartlidge's death at the age of 41 has come as a shock. It's not just the age but the thought that even though Cartlidge was already a major actress--despite a slender filmography--she held out the promise of even greater work, a promise that so few artists of any type can make. "Fearless" is perhaps the word most often used to describe Cartlidge but emotions are never enough for an actor; much more is required. Director Mike Leigh said she had "the objective eye of an artist" while remarking on her "her deep-seated suspicion of all forms of woolly thinking and received ideas." Cartlidge was born in London on May 15, 1961. Her first acting work was on the stage, in tiny independent theatres before she was selected by Peter Gill for the National Theatre. Cartlidge also worked as a dresser at the Royal Court where she later made one of her final stage appearances. She began appearing in the popular British TV series Brookside before making her first film in 1985, Sacred Hearts. A small role in the Robbie Coltrane-Rik Mayall vehicle Eat the Rich (1987) followed before Cartlidge had her first leading role in Mike Leigh's scathing Naked (1993). Cartlidge never took a safe approach in her films. She told The Guardian that "I try to work with film-makers who I feel will produce something original, revealing and provoking. If something provokes a reaction, it's well worth doing." You can see this in her choice of projects. Before the Rain (1994) dramatized violence in Macedonia in the wake of the Yugoslavian break-up and made Cartlidge something of a star in the area. She appeared in Lars Von Trier's controversial look at redemption, Breaking the Waves (1996), Leigh's sharply detailed story of aging friends Career Girls (1997), as one of Jack the Ripper's victims in From Hell (2001), as a call girl trying to leave the business in Clair Dolan (1998) and in the Oscar-winning film about Bosnia-Herzegovina, No Man's Land (2001). Her last work included a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment (2002), playing Salvador Dali's wife Gala in the BBC comedy-drama Surrealissimo (2002) and an appearance in Rosanna Arquette's directorial debut, Searching for Debra Winger (also 2002), a documentary about women in the film industry. Cartlidge died September 7th from septicaemia brought on by pneumonia. TCM REMEMBERS LEO MCKERN, 1920-2002 The recent death of Leo McKern, 82, marked the passing of one of Britain's finest and most respected character actors. He was suffering from ill health in recent years and was moved to a nursing home a few weeks before his death on July 23 2002 in Bath, England. An actor of commanding presence with a deep-throated voice, the portly, bulbous-nosed McKern had a long, distinguished career spanning more than half a century, earning numerous plaudits along the way in all major mediums: theatre, film and television. Born Reginald McKern on March 16, 1920 in Sydney, Australia; he served with the Australian Army during World War II and worked in regional theatre in his native Sydney before immigrating to England in 1946. It was a slow start, but after a three-year apprenticeship of painting scenery, stage-managing and acting, McKern eventually joined the celebrated Old Vic theatrical company in 1949 and proved one of the more versatile actors in the troupe tackling diverse roles in comedy, the classics and serious contemporary parts. His film debut came in Murder in the Cathedral (1952) but it took a few years before he made his mark in cinema. Some of his best film work included roles as Peter Sellers' comic henchman in the classic satire The Mouse That Roared (1959); a bungling train robber in the charming Disney film The Horse Without a Head (1963); a nefarious professor who kills off his colleagues for amusement in the brilliant black comedy A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964); Clang, a cartoonish villain in the Beatles' pop film Help! (1965); Cromwell, the persecutor of Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons (1966) and as Thomas Ryan in the David Lean drama, Ryan's Daughter (1970). Yet despite all the accolades McKern earned in theatre and films, it was television where he foundinternational fame as the wily, irascible barrister Horace P. Rumpole in John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey in 1975. Infusing the character with beguiling skill and energy, McKern made the acerbic, wine swilling, Tennyson-quoting Rumpole a much loved figure that was adored by critics, audiences and even its creator Mortimer. Perhaps Mortimer offered the most fitting tribute when he once referred to McKern - "His acting exists where I always hope my writing will be: about two feet above the ground, a little larger than life, but always taking off from reality." Enough said. By Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Sidney J. Furie and Michael Anderson (I) were originally approached to direct the film.

Deborah Kerr replaced Kim Novak in the role of Catherine de Montfaucon after an accident.

Notes

Released in Great Britain in 1968; running time: 90 min. Location scenes filmed in the Bordeaux country of France. Screen credit reads: "With grateful acknowledgment to the Baronne and the staff for the use of Château d'Hautefort." The working title of this film is 13.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1966

Released in United States 1966