"The Damned" Is Released

The Damned (Italian: La caduta degli dei, German: Die Verdammten (Götterdämmerung)) is a 1969 film by Luchino Visconti.

The Damned has often been regarded as the first of Visconti's films described as 'The German Trilogy'. The others are Death in Venice (1971) and Ludwig (1973). Henry Bacon (1998) specifically categorizes these films together under a chapter 'Visconti & Germany'. Visconti's earlier films had analysed Italian society during the Risorgimento and postwar periods. Peter Bondanella's Italian Cinema (2002) depicts the trilogy as a move to take a broader view of European politics and culture. Stylistically, "they emphasise lavish sets and costumes, sensuous lighting, painstakingly slow camerawork, and a penchant for imagery reflecting subjective states or symbolic values," comments Bondanella.

In 1969, The Damned (La caduta degli dei) was director Luchino Visconti's most controversial film to date. Set in the 1930s, the film zeroes in on a Krupp-like family of German munition manufacturers. The Essenbeck clan is headed by the Baron (Rene Kolldehoff), but daughter Sophie (Ingrid Thulin) wants her Nazi boyfriend to take over the business. Soon the Baron is dead and Bruckman (Dirk Bogarde) becomes company president. Son Martin (Helmut Berger) is the dope-addicted teenager who sleeps with his mother and drags her into her own dependence on drugs. Ever in pursuit of more millions to add to their already bulging coffers, the family plays along with the Nazis, descending into corruption, betrayal and murder all along the way. The film was originally released in the U.S. with an X rating. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide