HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Damned, The Before The StormBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Macdonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field, Oliver Reed, Alexander Knox, Walter Gotell, Viveca Lindfors, Kit Williams, Rachel Clay, James Villiers, Tom Kempinski, Kenneth Cope, Brian Oulton, James Maxwell, Caroline Sheldon, David Palmer, Nicholas Clay
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Simon Wells (Macdonald Carey) is a middle-aged American on holiday in Britain, the seaside town of Weymouth to be exact, and today a young woman, Joan (Shirley Anne Field), catches his eye. He follows her, takes her arm to cross the road, and they end up in a side street where Joan's brother King (Oliver Reed) and his gang of bikers emerge and mug him, leaving Simon bleeding on the pavement. He doesn't know it yet, but his path will meet with the gang once more - at a top secret research base situated on the coast...

One of Hammer's forays into science fiction, you'd never be aware there was a fantastical element to The Damned for at least the first third, as it looks like the title refers to the biker gang. Just as The Wild One ushered in biker movies for America, they caught on in Britain to a lesser extent as well, and here instead of Marlon Brando we had Oliver Reed, which wasn't a bad substitute. So you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a moody juvenile delinquent thriller.

The script was adapted from a story by H.L. Lawrence by Evan Jones, and it eventually is revealed that the title refers to pretty much all of us. Director Joseph Losey wasn't best revered for his science fiction, and it's true this film was taken out of his hands and re-edited under the title These are the Damned to make it snappier, but nevertheless it built up a cult reputation. Perhaps this is because once it settles into its doom declaring groove, it contrives to tap into a worries about governments and a danger that is so vast it leaves most feeling impotent in the face of it.

Not that the film shows its hand too early, and Carey makes an unconvincing lead, far too old for Field making this look like the adventures of a dirty old man for a while. Simon and Joan do meet up again when she wanders onto his boat, and eventually they both go on the run from King and the ne'erdowells. King has a possessiveness towards his sister that strongly speaks of an incestuous interest, and with Reed playing the role he's obviously trouble.

The chase goes on into the evening, with Simon and Joan winding up at a top secret base where they take a tumble over the nearby cliff. They are rescued by a group of children who are being kept there as part of an experiment, and Joan notices with concern that they are all ice cold to the touch. As the persistent King climbs down to join them, nearly drowning in the process, will they manage to escape the authorities?

The children are such pathetic characters that their exploitation, the reason for which only becomes clear by the ending, is unsettling, but not half as worrying as the way the story takes on nuclear war as an inevitability, leading to one of the bleakest conclusions in genre cinema. Yes, it takes itself far too seriously, but in a way that's it strength, a serious statement that eventually there is no hope - it's that lack of a comfortable resolution that has stuck with its viewers over the years. The government here is one that is planning for doomsday and has no compunction about eliminating anyone who wants to believe there might be a glimmer of optimism about the future. Music by James Bernard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3680 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Joseph Losey  (1909 - 1984)

Cerebral, at times pretentious, American director, from the theatre. His American career (The Boy with Green Hair, a remake of M, The Prowler) was short-lived due to the Hollywood anti-Communist blacklist, and Losey escaped to Britain.

Almost a decade of uninspiring work followed, but come the sixties he produced a series of challenging films: The Criminal, Eva, King and Country, Secret Ceremony, The Romantic Englishwoman and Mr. Klein, and Harold Pinter collaborations The Servant, Accident and The Go-Between. He even directed science fiction like The Damned and Modesty Blaise. Not always successful - he also has turkeys like Boom and The Assassination of Trotsky among his credits - but his best films have a cult following with a particularly European flavour.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: