Joseph Losey’s The Damned

Written by Joe D on September 13th, 2007

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Yowza! What a crazy movie! I had heard about this one for years and finally got a chance to see it a couple months ago on TCM. It’s a very good film.

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Losey Directs

For one thing it has about 3 or 4 plots stitched together like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster,The Damned takes place in a small seaside town in England , visiting American MacDonald Carey floats in on his yacht and is bewitched by young & beautiful Shirley Anne Field. Her incestuously jealous brother ( Oliver Reed) doesn’t take kindly to the attention Carey is paying his sister so he and his Teddy boy gang kick Carey’s ass good and proper almost like he was rooting for the opposing soccer team!

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Ollie the Sadistic Fop!

Anyway Carey bumps into sculptress Vivica Lindfors and her pal super top secret scientist Alexander Knox, they live in the town, Lindfors up on a bluff overlooking the sea where she creates cool kind of organic apocalyptic sculpture and Knox in an underground bunker surrounded by barb wire, soldiers, guns, guard dogs, and searchlights where he creates mutated children.
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a Sculpture By Frink from the same period

Some how Carey and his young concubine fleeing the gang wind up in a subterranean compound habituated by radioactive children, genetically engineered to survive in a post nuclear apocalyptic world!

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Oliver Reed bullies the sculptress by smashing some of her work (it’s incredible sculpture made for the film by Elisabeth Frink) then Ollie winds up in the Atomic Children’s Ward as well. The ending is bleak, bleak, super bleak with the added amorality of the government killing people, torturing these children, doing whatever evil horrible things it wants to in the name of National Security. Rings a Bell, n’est pas?

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Here Comes The Government

Joseph Losey had a strange, uneven career. He went to the same high school as Nicholas Ray. His first feature was The Boy With The Green Hair I saw it on Million Dollar movie as a kid and it’s stayed with me all these years, I should watch it again. Losey was named by the Commie witch hunt HUAC, but he never named names like a lot of others. Instead he moved to England and made the rest of his films in Europe. I recommend this film, it has made me want to check out some of Losey’s earlier works like The Prowler and The Criminal and even though I swore I’d never watch it, his remake of M.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Sep
    16
    1:13
    PM
    Cinebeats

    I’m dying to see this again. I caught it on TV late one night when I was a teenager but that was many years ago. I love Hammer Studios during this period and Reed is always fantastic to watch, but Joseph Losey is also one of my favorite directors and he made a lot of amazing films.

    I hope this film gets a DVD release soon since it seems to be playing in theaters all over and airing on TV a lot lately.

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