The Damned plus episode from The Witches

Visconti's The Damned ushered in an era of perverse and decadent films and stage plays, intending to explore the dark circles of violence and evil in human history and consciousness with erotic indulgence and operatic flair. There is no doubt that The Damned is impressive spectacle, but some will find it ultimately boring, while others will share this fairly standard critical response from Judith Crist:

“A sense of stage play - or rather of grand opera - permeates most fittingly Luchino Visconti's The Damned, appropriately subtitled Gotterdammerung. A massive and portentous work, with daylight rarely penetrating its twilight shades and midnight shadows, it is a gigantic allegory of the rise of Nazism and its victory in Germany in the thirties, a detailed construction of blood lust and perversion within the historical facts. Visconti and his co-authors have created as their vehicle a Krupp-like baronial family of steel moguls and traced through them the compromise of the rich with the rabble, the death of liberalism, the defeat of Roehm's S.A. by Himmler's S.S. and the final triumph of the psychotic.... The seemingly endless ‘night of the long knives' - the slaughter of the S.A. conventioneers in mid-homosexual orgy - is simply hypnotic; the wild book-burning bonfires, the cool wheeling and dealing in death - all are fascinating, as are the individuals.... The Damned is a shattering experience in the watching and an unforgettable detailing of damnation in the recall.”

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