These Are The Damned
Anyone who's ever seen Quadrophenia will know how crap that whole
"Mods and Rockers" thing was. I mean, travelling all the way
to the seaside to kick someone's head in? Have you been to Rhyl
I'd rather spend my Sundays sat on my arse watching old horror films (and
I do). Of course, there's a whole load of films devoted to that particular
period of time, and they're all bollocks.
But they were all also made a long time afterwards, looking back with
rose tinted spectacles. The question is, what did film makers at the time
make of it all? Well, not much - if These Are The Damned is anything
to go by.
It's actually quite a chilling little film once it gets going - in a kind
of John Wyndham "Midwich Cuckoos" kind of way. In fact, it would
make a great triple bill along with Village and Children Of
The Damned. The problem is the first bit, which sets the scene through
a little bit of gang violence as jolly Ollie Reed and his bunch of hellraisers
lay waste to Weymouth. It's not the violence that's the problem - it's
actually quite well done and brutal, and could well be an influence on
A Clockwork Orange (which came along
10 years later).
It's not even the setting (I mean - Weymouth? I'm sure the place
itself is lovely, but it's hardly the Cote D'Azure, is it? It's not even
No, the problem is that these "teenage" tearaways are a middle-aged
film director's idea of "the kids". Apart from the vicious beating
they dole out to Simon the American (who quite frankly deserves it, the
dirty old man), everything else they do is pretty tame - especially when
compared to the excesses of Clockwork Orange.
They're first spotted listening to some bloody awful song which has the
lyrics "Black leather, black leather, rock rock rock" - a song
so truly dreadful that the film makers decided to repeat it through most
of the rest of the film.
They also do mock army drills on the prom (scary) and shout things like
"Last one to the Unicorn's a cube!". Well, I for one would shit
my pants if anyone started acting like that in my vicinity, I can tell
Apart from that the film's bizarre storyline, which suddenly stops being
a tale of teen angst and dips its toe into much murkier waters, is enough
to hold the interest over an hour and a half, even if Simon seems to forgive
Joan the teenage temptress rather too easily.
It's actually an extremely grim affair once the pathetic gang antics are
over and done with - evil Ollie's redemption is quite short-lived, and
everyone either dies from radiation poisoning or gets shot.
The final scene, with the trapped children's voices crying "Someone
help us - please help us!" is possibly one of the most depressing
and thought provoking on this site. And that's saying something - even
if the thought you're usually left with at the end of these films is "I
wasted 90 minutes of my life for that?"
These Are The Damned (1963)
Director: Joseph Losey Writer(s): Evan Jones, H.L. Lawrence (story
Children of the Light)
Cast: Macdonald Carey - Simon Wells, Shirley Ann Field - Joan, Oliver
Reed - King, Alexander Knox - Bernard, Walter Gotell - Major Holland, Viveca
Lindfors - Freya Neilson, Kit Williams - Henry, Rachel Clay - Victoria, James
Villiers - Captain Gregory, Tom Kempinski - Ted, Kenneth Cope - Sid, Brian Oulton
- Mr. Dingle, James Maxwell - Mr. Talbot, Caroline Sheldon - Elizabeth, David
Palmer - George, Nicholas Clay - Richard, John Thompson - Charles, Christopher
Witty - William, Rebecca Dignam - Anne, Siobhan Taylor - Mary, Allan McClelland
- Mr. Stuart, Fiona Duncan, Barbara Everest - Miss Lamont, León García - Teddy-boy,
Victor Gorf, David Gregory - Teddy-boy, Edward Harvey - Teddy-boy, Larry Martyn
- Teddy-boy, Geremy Phillips - Teddy-boy, Tommy Trinder, Anthony Valentine -
Teddy-boy, Neil Wilson