Legal and illegal criminality. An American tourist with a boat is robbed by a gang of teenager boys, assisted by the leader's sister. But soon afterward she jumps to the victim's boat to escape her brother's incestuous jealousy. The couple fly together and is hunted by the entire gang. Both happen to enter high-classified military territory. There might be a third and atomic world war, after which no ordinary man could survive. But now and then children are born who are "naturally" radio-active and have cold blood. They might survive in the post-war world and carry on mankind. They are fetched and brought to an underground construction where they are educated by TV. They are told that they are on a space ship moving toward the earth, which they should eventually colonize. This military project seems to be a failure because of a high mortality among the children. - The military soon finds the gang. The couple finds the children and tries to help them to escape. This situation will ... Written by
Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
The film was delayed for two years and was not shown in Britain until the Spring of 1963, when it was released as the lower half of a Hammer Films double-bill with "Maniac". It had been cut by Hammer (against Joseph Losey's wishes) from 96 minutes to 87 minutes, and it was cut by ten minutes more again when it was finally shown in America in 1965. However, the missing footage has been restored to the film for its DVD version and for 21st-century television showings. See more »
(at around 38mins) When Neilson wrestles King to the ground, a person's shadow (cameraman?) can be seen to move on the ground next to them. See more »
You know, someone once told me, that when a bureaucrat wants to keep his job, he stamps everything 'Top Secret.' Is that true?
It's probably true, sometimes.
I... hate your secrets, Bernard.
[Suddenly very hesitant]
Freya, if I were to tell you... even a little *bit* about... what you call my 'secrets,'... I might be condemning you to death. Please trust my judgement.
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Worth it provided you don't pay too much for the bootleg
"These Are the Damned" has obtained somewhat of a cult following due to its obscurity. Truth be told, its not one of the all-time cult or sci-fi classics. What it is however is quite interesting. There are some flaws that detract from it being great, mainly the teddy boys. These youth gangs might have been considered a threat to British society back in the day, but viewed today they seem quite quaint and unintentionally hilarious. They lack any degree of menace and can't hold a candle to America's greasers of the day. It would've been better to only hint at the sci-fi elements in the first half instead of having the sequence where the teacher checks in on his pupils. It could've been easily deleted as it really adds nothing to the plot. In addition to this, Joseph Losey's pacing is a bit too lethargic and some of the supporting performances are a bit poor.
Still, "These Are the Damned" is an interesting, haunting, and unique sci-fi film. All the stars turn in good and sympathetic performances. Particularly memorable is an early turn from Oliver Reed as the gang leader. The premise is quite novel and this was one of the first films to say that the government could be the perpetrators of an insidious plot on their own people. It would be a few years before American cinema would have this idea and its easy to see why this film caused some controversy on its initial release (the American cut deleted most of the social commentary). "These Are the Damned" is worth it provided you don't pay too much for the bootleg. Loved the theme song "Black Leather Rock" by the way. (7/10)
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