Reed in another subtle performance as Grandier, possibly
his best role.
Vanessa Redgrave is
excellent as the prioress who loves Grandier from a
distance. Her frustration causes her to denounce
Grandier. Glenda Jackson turned the role down because
parts were too similar to the madhouse scenes in The
Music Lovers. Just as Jackson previously, Redgrave was
pregnant during the filming, eventually having a
Most actors were chosen
by Russell based on their physical appearance.
Peter Maxwell Davis
provides the music. Derek Jarman provided the sets,
massive brick constructions. The photography is by David
Watkin, the editor is Michael Bradsell, costumes are by
The torture of Reed was censored in the original
versions, but is included in later versions (it lasts seconds).
The rape of Christ scene was censored by the studio. A restored
version with the full sequence, was shown at the National Film Theatre
on 23 Nov 2004.
was based directly on Huxley's novel, and on John
Whiting´s stage play of the novel. The premiere of the
play, 10 years before the film, included Max Adrian as
Father Barre and Dorothy Tutin as Sister Jeanne, both in this film,
though in different roles.
British comedian Spike Milligan was a candidate
for a part in the film (information from Spike by Norma Farnes).
Russell's early documentary Portrait of a Goon was about Milligan.