Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Damned

1969 Italian/West German Feature
Alternate Titles: La caduta degli dei / Die Verdammten

Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Griem, Helmut Berger, Renaud Verley, Umberto Orsini, Albrecht Schoenhals, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Florinda Bolkan and Charlotte Rampling
Director: Luchino Visconti
Writers: Luchino Visconti, Enrico Medioli and Nicola Badalucco

In the early days of Nazi Germany, the Essenbecks, a powerful noble family, must adjust to life under the new dictatorship regime.


  • Internet Movie Database: 7.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 91% / Audience: 85%

  • DVD: Available


  • Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
  • Golden Globe Award nomination for Most Promising Newcomer - Male (Berger).

  • The Italian title is the conventional translation of the term Götterdämmerung, a reference to the title of the Richard Wagner opera, itself a translation into German of the Old Norse phrase Ragnarök, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesied war. But for the German version the title Die Verdammten ("The Damned") was chosen.
  • The Essenbeck family was a thinly veiled reference to the Essen-based Krupp family of steel industrialists, infamous for their brutal use of slave labor during World War II.
  • The full 155-minute version of The Damned contains such extreme scenes of sex and violence that it was originally rated X by the Motion Picture Association of America. Most early video versions have been trimmed to 150 minutes and rated R, however Warner Bros. submitted the film for re-classification for their DVD release in 2004 and the film was re-rated to an R.
  • 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 network censor guidelines that one CBS executive joked that the movie should be retitled "The Darned".
  • Martin von Essenbeck's drag performance as Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel at his grandfather's birthday celebration, notorious at the time of the film's release, has since become an iconic image in cinema history.
  • Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's favorite film. He called it "perhaps the greatest film, the film that I think means as much to the history of film as Shakespeare to the history of theater."
  • In the 2014 biopic Saint Laurent, the elderly Yves Saint Laurent, played by Helmut Berger, watches The Damned, starring Helmut Berger, on television.

Related Movies:
  • First part of Luchino Visconti's "German Trilogy", followed by 1971's Death in Venice and 1972's Ludwig.
  • Featured in the documentaries The Hidden Führer: Debating the Enigma of Hitler's Sexuality and Homo Promo.

Related OMG Posts:

OMG Movie #593

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