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THE DAMNED

Director: JOSEPH LOSEY

U.K. • 1963 • BLACK AND WHITE • ANAMORPHIC • 35MM • 96 MIN.


Described by Time Out as the strangest film ever to come out of Hammer studios (so much so that it was shelved for two years), The Damned has gathered a deserved reputation as one of the finest examples of British science fiction cinema. It has curious anticipations of A Clockwork Orange, with its violent gangs and intimidating symbolic sculptures, but it surpasses even that film for future shock. On the run from a motorcycle gang headed by Oliver Reed, an unlikely romantic couple (Macdonald Carey and Shirley Anne Field) stumble across a hideout occupied by radioactive children, who are part of a scientific experiment for survival in the event of inevitable nuclear war. In some ways a British counterpart to Losey’s Hollywood debut, The Boy with Green Hair (1948), which was also a fable about the plight of children in a post-atomic age, this is much more pessimistic and gathers with some visual majesty towards a haunting ending , with young voices crying for help in a heedless universe already contaminated by destruction and despair.

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