Tag Archives: Helmut Griem

Luchino Visconti – La Caduta Degli Dei (Götterdämmerung) AKA The Damned [English dub] (1969)

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This brooding, operatic movie about Nazism makes Cabaret look like wholesome family fare. The family in The Damned is a symbol of German society circa 1934. The Krupp-like steel magnate Baron von Essenbeck represents the spineless establishment. The Nazis kill the baron, then frame one heir apparent, a socialist (married to the stunning Charlotte Rampling). A bearish, boorish Essenbeck representing the SA, the Nazis’ early goon squad, takes the reins. But Hitler murdered the SA in the 1934 “Night of the Long Knives,” providing The Damned with its bravura action scene, a Nazi massacre at a gay SA orgy. The winning Essenbeck is the murderous, pedophilic, transvestite, mother-rapist Martin (sharp-featured Helmut Berger), who represents Nazism. Though he’s better in director Luchino Visconti’s 1971 Death in Venice, Dirk Bogarde is classy as Martin’s stepdad. The Damned got an Oscar screenplay nomination, and Vincent Canby called Berger’s Martin “the performance of the year.” Read More »