Film: The Damned

The Damned is a 1969 film by Luchino Visconti.

Set in the early days of Nazi Germany, The Damned depicts the downfall of the Essenbecks, a prosperous German steel family. Patriarch Joachim (Albrecht Schoenhals) announces his retirement from the family business. Frederick Bruckman (Dirk Bogarde), an ambitious company executive, conspires with Joachim's daughter Sophie (Ingrid Thulin) and SS official Aschenbach (Helmut Griem) to murder Joachim and take over the company. This sets off a vicious power struggle between Frederick, Sophie, Aschenbach, Sophie's son Martin (Helmut Berger) and Konstantin (Rene Koldehoff), an SA leader. Caught in the middle is Herbert Thalman (Umberto Orsini), Joachim's vice president whom Frederick frames for Joachim's death, his wife Elizabeth (Charlotte Rampling) and Konstantin's son Gunther (Renaud Verley).

The Damned was extremely controversial in its day, for both its sexual content and graphic violence. It remains a polarizing movie: some critics consider it a masterpiece, others think it's overblown and sensationalistic. Compare for instance Vincent Canby's glowing review with Roger Ebert's scathing one. One notable fan is director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who said it "means as much to the history of film as Shakespeare to the history of theater."

Tropes used by the film: