In an atmosphere of political tension when the French still control Algiers, an Algerian is killed on the beach and a French man who has lived in Algiers all his life is arrested for the ... See full summary »
The power and fortune of the Von Essenbeck family remained intact even when Germany lost World War I, and during the depression that followed. Now it's 1934, and the baron has summoned his family to a dinner that also brings a cousin rising in the Nazi party to the great house accompanied by a rising manager at the baron's company. Two little girls recite poetry in the parlor and then play hide-and-seek with their cousin Martin (Helmut Berger). Suddenly there is a scream. The baron has been shot with their father's gun and the father flees the country.Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Footage shot during the "Night of the Long Knives" sequence but never shown previously in the United States is restored in the 2004 DVD release. It is in subtitled German and expands the running time to two hours and thirty-six minutes. See more »
Throughout the film, SS-Captain Aschenbach is referred to as a "Hauptsturmfuhrer". However, prior to 1934 (when the film is set) the SS referred to the rank of Captain as "Sturmhauptfuhrer". See more »
When "The Damned" was first acquired by CBS for its premiere TV broadcast in the early 1970s, so many cuts were required to meet the much stricter (at the time) network censor guidelines that one CBS executive joked that the movie should be retitled "The Darned". This heavily cut print was shown numerous times during the early and mid-1970's. See more »
Visconti's bizarre examination of a powerful and wealthy family whose downfall both parallels the rise and foreshadows the fall of the Third Reich is never less than entertaining, it has to be said. Certainly not to the tastes of all, it seems to revel in the decadence and debauchery it portrays in much the same way a tabloid paper feels it has to publish dozens of photographs of the pornography it pretends to condemn. Look how depraved these incestuous cross-dressing Nazis were; apart from one pious voice the whole nation, it seems, is condemned with one broad stroke and we are given no contrast against which to compare such depravity.
The characters of the Von Essenbach family are each representative of a facet of 30s German character, all joined in a desire for power or the need to be protected beneath its wing, prone to making strident and unyielding demands and dismissing the rights of those who stand in their way. This leaves us with a morally repugnant lot, none of whom we can empathise with, and also tempts the cast to overact at times. Ingrid Thulin is particularly guilty, and even the usually laconic Dirk Bogarde becomes overwrought at times.
For all these faults, the film is shamelessly entertaining and fascinating to watch. It plays like a Shakespearian tragedy at times, and you feel compelled to see it through to the end just to find out the fate of each character.
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