Devils Backbone

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Product Overview

His father killed in the brutal fighting of the Spanish Civil War, ten-year-old Carlos is sent to live at the desolate Santa Lucia School, now a makeshift shelter for war orphans. Soon after his arrival, Carlos has a series of seemingly supernatural encounters: strange shadows, voices and, most frightening of all, the apparition of a brutalized young boy. Turns out that Carlos is not alone in seeing these strange phenomena, many other children have experienced the "One Who Sighs," as the entity has come to be called. A classic ghost story, haunting as it is moving, The Devil's Backbone is also a subtle allegory for the war that rages on just beyond the school's walls.


Studio Sony
SKU 40244127
UPC 043396056763
UPC 14 00043396056763
Format DVD
Release Date 10/2/2012
Rating Rating
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note During the Spanish Civil War, newly orphaned Carlos is taken to a school for the children of those who died fighting against fascism. He is given the bed that formerly belonged to Santi, a boy who recently died during an attack in which a bomb dropped, landing in the school's courtyard undetonated, a reminder of impending danger. As the amputee headmistress (Marisa Paredes, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER) and the embittered caretaker, Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega), engage in a love affair, the headmistress' cuckolded husband, the impotent but benevolent school doctor (Frederico Luppi) sits by passively. Meanwhile, after Santi's ghost repeatedly reveals itself to Carlos, another student spooks Carlos with a dark secret about the boy's death. War surrounds the school, violence infests it from within, and Carlos sets out to avenge the death of Santi.^Taking on themes such as the brutality of war and the loss of innocence, Guillermo del Toro's (MIMIC) film skillfully combines elements of war, gothic horror, melodrama, and adventure to create a work that functions as both a genre film and a politically resonant piece of nostalgia. THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE uses history as a means of transforming what would otherwise be a routine ghost story into a powerful and affecting statement.
Total Film "...Del Toro keeps things tense and, most importantly, keeps you guessing....Del Toro has crafted a creepy, lyrical movie that surges between unspeakable brutality and heart-bruising sentiment..." 12/01/2001 p.101
Sight and Sound "...THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE remains the work of a great stylist with a uniquely disturbing attraction to, and vision of, the frontier between life and death..." 12/01/2001 p.38-46
Box Office "...Throughout, Del Toro has composed vivid and riveting images that he has combined with an engrossing story, and the impressive performances of the entire cast keep DEVIL'S BACKBONE unabatingly compelling..." 12/01/2001 p.58
Entertainment Weekly "...Richly atmospheric....Del Toro builds excitement, dread, and melodrama in equal layers..." 12/07/2001 p.70
New York Times "...Mr. Del Toro takes an almost sensuous delight in weaving aural and visual textures of fear....Mr. Del Toro provokes your screams and shudders, but he also earns your tears..." 11/21/2001 p.E13
Chicago Sun-Times "...The movie is richly atmospheric in its telling of a ghost story..." 01/20/2002 p.6
Guillermo Del Toro
Federico Luppi
Marisa Paredes
Fernando Tielve
Eduardo Noriega
Cast & Crew
Antonio Trashorras - Writer
David Munoz - Writer
Eduardo Noriega - Actor
Federico Luppi - Actor
Fernando Tielve - Actor
Guillermo del Toro - Director
Guillermo del Toro - Writer
Guillermo Navarro - Director of Photography
Inigo Garces - Actor
Irene Visedo - Actor
Javier Navarette - Musical Score
Luis De La Madrid - Editor
Marisa Paredes - Actor
Pedro Almodovar, et al. - Producer
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2001
Catalog ID 05676
UPC 00043396056763
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 108 minutes
Color Color
Original Language Spanish
Available Subtitles English
Available Audio Tracks Spanish
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
ReviewSource Washington Post
Review The air of sensuality is very much the film's operating style. Although the story includes damp cell
Reviewer Desson Howe
ReviewRating 9
DVD, Special Edition, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), English, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Actor Noriega,Eduardo
Label Columbia/tri-Star
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Ain't It Cool News A superior work! It is one of the absolute best movies you'll see this year!
Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times An elegant scare picture...
Lou Lumenick, The New York Post Vastly more frightening and stylish than The Others.

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