I didn't really ever find a way to enter into this film...there don't seem to be sympathetic or main characters, and actions didn't always make sense to me: something would happen and then it would nullify itself by its opposite happening immediately after. The final wedding scene did intrigue me, when we see Martin has destroyed his whole family, so perhaps I will watch this again with new eyes, hopefully.
Everybody loves a posh and deranged family. Ingrid Thulin and Charlotte Rampling serving looks throughout the film gave me life, and Helmut Berger played such a bitch of a character. Plus: pedophilia, incest, gay orgies, nazis, drag numbers, murders... The film had everything you could wish for, but it felt too long and the plot/script wasn't very well articulated. Clothes and sets were fab, but the rest... meh.
September '17. All the dramatic zooms, oh my! Very Fassbinder the aesthetic, baroque and instinctive. The formal style intuitive and emotional not intellectual and over-constructed as taught in film school and mastered in Visconti's own Rocco and his brothers. I've always loved zooms, from Kubrick and Tarr to here. So dramatic and involving, pull you in, move you.
The dubbed version makes it seem like a cheap exploitation film. The non-dubbed version is not much better. I think Bogarde did a much better job in 'The Night Porter'. The true value is in the costumes, set design, and general campiness. It seeks to shock rather than inform.
Avec un talent rare et un style éblouissant, une tragédie mise en scène comme un somptueux opéra où tous les personnages sont marqués par la fatalité. Un des chefs-d'oeuvre de Visconti entre pertinente leçon d'histoire sur la montée du fascisme et fascinant tableau d'une dégénérescence sociale... www.cinefiches.com
Hold onto your boas! Visconti's epic, operatic, high-camp, fur-and-claws, opulent, Oedipal, Nazi melodrama; a glorious 2.5 hour voyeuristic descent into the very same lush hungry self-indulgence as the family on screen, so that I came out flushed & feral & wanting more. Fassbinder claimed to have seen the film 30 times, which I would've greedily joined him for. A lesson & a spectacle. Flawed, fierce & extraordinary.
It's strange that this Italian/German coproduction is primarily in English, and yet several characters speak German frequently. It could be this tool used to distance the elite, old Germany (English speaking) from the new, National Socialist Germany (German speaking). It shows the end of an era, a Visconti theme for the ages, as the elite die off, and the Nazis reign supreme, hand in hand with the crazy ones.
I saw this film at my high school cine-club in the 70's between an Ingmar Bergman and a Luis Buñuel movie. Now, 40 years later, I must say that The Damned don't age very well. Cold, with improbable spotlights à la Bava, The Damned grow pale if one compares it with, let's say, Bob Fosse's Cabaret which deals with the same themes but with far more talent. A big disappointment. Already forgotten.