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The Monk

Maya Films

Franco Nero - Ambrosio
Nathalie Delon - Mathilde
Nicol Williamson - Duke of Talamur
Nadja Tiller - Elvira
Eliana De Santis - Antonia
Adonis Kyrou - Director
Henry Lange - Producer
Luis Bu˝uel - Screenwriter
Sacha Vierny - Cinematographer
Matthew Lewis - Original Novel

Nero & Delon Scripted by Luis Bu˝uel, who had long wanted to film Matthew G. Lewis's classic Gothic novel (first published in 1796), The Monk was eventually filmed by Bu˝uel's long-time admirer, the surrealist critic Adonis Kyrou. Sadly, the result is an exercise in academic surrealism.

Set in the Middle Ages, Le Moine tells of Father Ambrosio (Franco Nero) and his lethal passion for a novice who turns out to be a diabolical seductress (Nathalie Delon), leading him to perdition by delivering to him the virginal Antonia (Eliana de Santis) whom he keeps in a dungeon and rapes. The depraved monk escapes the wrath of the Inquisition by making a pact with the devil. In the end he walks away a free man to the mocking applause of an off-screen flock.

Kyrou's direction is flat and uninspired, without any sense of pace or dramatic construction and, although Sacha Vierny's photography is clear and professional, the acting of the rather starry cast is somewhat strained (for instance, the cannibalistic nobleman played in archly camp style by Nicol Williamson, who appears to be subtly sending it all up). Little is left of what Bu˝uel might have wanted to make of the script, except for the general anti-clerical theme and the occasionally effectively staged contrast between Ambrosio's unhealthy attitudes towards sex and the surrounding countryside positively buzzing with the sound of life.

--PHIL HARDY, ed. from The Encyclopedia of
Horror Films
, 1986

A selection of The Monk related films.

Find The Monk on eBay

A selection of The Monk in books.

A History of Horror

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