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The Damned

Dirk Bogarde , Luchino Visconti    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Product Description

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This brooding, operatic movie about Nazism makes Cabaret look like wholesome family fare. The family in The Damned is a symbol of German society circa 1934. The Krupp-like steel magnate Baron von Essenbeck represents the spineless establishment. The Nazis kill the baron, then frame one heir apparent, a socialist (married to the stunning Charlotte Rampling). A bearish, boorish Essenbeck representing the SA, the Nazis' early goon squad, takes the reins. But Hitler murdered the SA in the 1934 "Night of the Long Knives," providing The Damned with its bravura action scene, a Nazi massacre at a gay SA orgy. The winning Essenbeck is the murderous, pedophilic, transvestite, mother-rapist Martin (sharp-featured Helmut Berger), who represents Nazism. Though he's better in director Luchino Visconti's 1971 Death in Venice, Dirk Bogarde is classy as Martin's stepdad. The Damned got an Oscar screenplay nomination, and Vincent Canby called Berger's Martin "the performance of the year." --Tim Appelo

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT ... DVD! March 12 2004
By Nick
Format:DVD
I posted earlier in anticipation of this DVD and my expectations were far exceeded! Thank you Warner Bros! By now you've probably read the plot about a rich, decadent family's empire crumbling in sync with the rise of the Nazi party. This DVD is the ultimate way to experience the film!
First off, this is indeed the UNCUT VERSION, don't let the R rating fool you. It runs 157 minutes (as compared to my old 147 minute VHS tape), and according to the MPAA ratings database, this uncut version was resubmitted this year and received an R rating (it was originally X-rated in 1969). Way to go WB DVD giving us this classic in all it's uncut, shocking glory!
Also, the quality of the DVD is probably as good as it's going to get! No need to complain when we've got a widescreen uncut print on our hands, right? The movie is old so it's not going to look clean and crisp and new like a DVD of "Daddy Day Care" or "Gigli." I'm just glad it's out on DVD now and I hope that in this format the movie will now be discovered by people who haven't yet seen it.
Maybe I'm hyping it up too much, and I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me and find the movie too boring, but it takes its time and after watching it, you look back and everything you've been exposed to in the film seems like an unsettling dream. That's entertainment!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Twilight of the Industrialists Feb. 24 2004
Format:DVD
"The Damned" is an entertaining soap opera concerning the destruction of a German Industrial family during the early years of Hitler's consolidation of power. There are many very good performances in this movie such as Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Greim, Charlotte Rampling (seen in the recent Swimming Pool), and especially Helmut Berger who is evil personified as Martin Von Essenbeck. Luchino Visconti directs the movie with operatic opulence though there are a few sections in the movie that tends to slow to a crawl. Despite these moments, you will find yourself immersed in a compelling story. I have to agree with other reviewers who are critical of the sound, as I occasionally activated the subtitles to catch what was being said.
Finally, regarding whether or not The Damned has in fact been edited to an R rating. I saw this movie in a theater when it was first released, and while I will concede that my memory may be flagging, I honestly do not recall any scene that has been trimmed. I believe that the X rating in 1969 is a reflection of the moral standards of the period. This movie includes issues of rape, pedophilia, and incest which were taboo in movies during this period. Think of the landmark X rated movies such as "Last Tango in Paris", and "I am Curious Yellow". In both cases, seen by today's rating standards, these two movies only warrant an R rating. I believe "The Damned" falls into the same category.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ignored masterpiece!! Jan. 2 2004
By Nick
Format:DVD
I'm jumping for joy that Warner Bros. has decided to finally release this movie onto DVD! I watched it in high school and wrote a report about it and I've always thought it was an amazing film! When I've brought it up in conversation, people are like, "What did you call me?" and they've never even heard about it.
Rated X upon it's 1969 release, this Nazi era tale of power, greed, hate, and perversion within a wealthy family is beautifully crafted and takes its time going where it needs to go, yet is never boring. The "Night of the Long Knives" scene (even in the edited R-rated video version I saw) was very shocking and eye opening. If you haven't seen it, don't miss it!
I can only hope that Warner Bros. has released it in its original, unedited version for DVD!! In any case, I've preordered my copy and am looking forward to watching it again!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and Powerful..... Feb. 17 2003
Format:VHS Tape
'The Damned' is Visconti's masterpiece centered in Nazi Germany and focuses on the downward spiral of a wealthy family. Greed, lust, obsession at its darkest in this gripping, morbid tale. Somewhat shocking, even by today's standards, The Damned is irresistable and grips you from beginning to end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visconti Goes to Hell May 5 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This astonishing if ultimately frustrating production fuses two motifs familiar from earlier Visconti works: the historical spectacular (Senso, The Leopard) and the family saga (La Terra trema, Rocco and His Brothers). But there almost any similarity with the director's early films ceases altogether. The Damned is history as Walpurgisnacht, focusing upon the peripeties of a German family of industrialists-evidently modeled upon the Krupps--whose secret repository of vices gives new meaning to the stock phrase "skeleton in the closet". On the eve of the Reichstag fire, the Von Essenbecks, owners of an important steel factory with close traditional ties to the military, gather to celebrate the birthday of the family patriarch, Joachim (Albrecht Schoenhals).
The heir to the dynasty is the elegant, amoral Martin (Helmut Berger), the only child of Joachim's son who has died in World War I and the beautiful, unscrupulous Baroness Sophie Von Essenbeck (Ingrid Thulin). Sophie is enamored of the ambitious Friedrich Bruckmann (Dirk Bogarde), and plans to use her son as a pawn to promote Friedrich's rise to power as head of the family business. Yet Sophie, in spite of her passionate love for Friedrich, is pathologically attached to Martin, who in turn has a psychopathic attraction to little girls. To guarantee the Nazis' control of the steel works, Friedrich conspires with the diabolical SS officer Aschenbach (Helmut Griem) in the killing of old Joachim, and later in the assassination of Martin's uncle Konstantin (Rene Koldehoff) during a homosexual orgy of SA followers on the Night of the Long Knives.
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