The Damned (1963) | Bikers and boffins head for a radioactive showdown in Joseph Losey’s chilling British sci-fi
From acclaimed director Joseph Losey comes The Damned, a chilling British sci-fi film noir from 1963 set in… Weymouth.
Come At Your Own Risk …If You Come Alone!
Trying to escape a gang of Teddy Boy bikers, a middle-aged American sailor (Macdonald Carey of Days of Our Lives fame) and the sister of a vicious gang leader (played by a youthful Oliver Reed) hide out inside a highly classified military base. Here, they find a group of radioactive children (including a very young Nicholas Clay) who are being groomed to repopulate an Earth following the inevitable atomic apocalypse. Shirley Anne Field lets rip as Reed’s slapper of a sister, while veteran Swedish actress Viceca Lindfors plays a bohemian sculptress whose creepy art pieces were actually the work of celebrated artist Elizabeth Frink.
Adapted from HL Lawrence’s novel Children of the Light, The Damned is a bizarre blend of rebel youth culture, arthouse pretension and fatalistic sci-fi that all comes together thanks to Evan Jones’ intelligent screenplay (it was written just two weeks before filming began because the director chucked out the first treatment) and Losey’s stylish eye. Fascinating and foreboding in equal measures; this ranks as one of Hammer’s most unique releases and a highpoint for post-war British sci-fi. Cut by censors from 96 to 87 minutes in Britain and 77 minutes in America (where it was called These Are The Damned), the film was restored by Columbia in 2007.
The Damned screens at the BFI Southbank on 25 and 28 October as part of the Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder season, and is also available on DVD in the UK from Hammer Films.
Posted on October 25, 2014, in British Film, Cult classic, Hammer-Amicus-Tigon, Must See, Must-See, Sci-Fi and tagged 1960s sci-fi, BFI, Cult classic, Hammer Films, Hammer-Amicus-Tigon, Joseph Losey, Must See, Oliver Reed, Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, The Damned. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.