The Damned (1969)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  La Caduta Degli Dei

Italy/West Germany, 1969, , , .  Story and Screenplay by , , Luchino Visconti.  Cinematography by , .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

There’s really no easy way to encapsulate the experience of this film, it is simply one of the most curious epic dramas you will ever have the chance to see. It tells the story of a German family who are torn apart by their disparate personalities and their experiences in surviving World War II…a World War II that is filtered through the slightly diagonal imagination of director Luchino Visconti. Following the death of the head of a powerful industrial family, the story follows its members as they try to survive the Nazi regime and eventually come out on top.   is terrific as the cross-dressing, paedophilic, incestuous son who is, of course, the most successful of them all and the representation of Nazi power. The famous “Night of the Long Knives”, when Nazis murdered the members of the S.A., is now, thanks to Visconti, a gay orgy followed by murder.   is hilariously ghoulish as Berger’s mother, and is strong in the lead as her husband. It’s really dark stuff, but it is so very outrageous in its storytelling that it is never less than enjoyable.

The Criterion Collection:  #1098

Academy Award NominationBest Original Story and Screenplay

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