The Damned

The Criterion Collection

The Damned


The most savagely subversive film by the iconoclastic auteur Luchino Visconti employs the mechanics of deliriously stylized melodrama to portray Nazism’s total corruption of the soul. In the wake of Hitler’s ascent to power, the wealthy industrialist von Essenbeck family and their associates—including the scheming social climber Friedrich (Dirk Bogarde), the conniving matriarch Sophie (Ingrid Thulin), and the cruelly deviant heir Martin (Helmut Berger, memorably donning Marlene Dietrich–like drag in his breakthrough role)—descend into a self-destructive spiral of decadence, greed, perversion, and all-consuming hatred as they vie for power, over the family business and over one another. The heightened performances and Visconti’s luridly expressionistic use of Technicolor conjure a garish world of decaying opulence in which one family’s downfall comes to stand for the moral rot of a nation.

FILM INFO

  • Italy, West Germany
  • 1969
  • 157 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • German, English
  • Spine #1098

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 2K digital restoration by the Cineteca di Bologna and Institut Lumière, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate Italian-language soundtrack
  • Interview from 1970 with director Luchino Visconti about the film
  • Archival interviews with actors Helmut Berger, Ingrid Thulin, and Charlotte Rampling
  • Visconti On Set, a 1969 behind-the-scenes documentary
  • New interview with scholar Stefano Albertini about the sexual politics of the film
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by scholar D. A. Miller

New cover by George Pratt