Saturday, December 13, 2008

I accepted a ruthless logic, and I can never get away from it!

Just watched The Damned, Luchino Visconti's movie about a German industrialist family destroyed when it attempts to harness National Socialism for its own benefit. Still digesting it, though I think that the best thing about it is the way the family's most fervent Nazi is also the most charming and self-assured person in the family. He rarely threatens or raises his voice. He just gets people to sign away their souls by convincing them it is in their best interest. That's real evil for you.

But the reason for this post is not the film itself. The DVD also contains the original trailer which is hilarious. It takes most of the material from the final hour of the film, spoiling a large part of the plot (making the earlier part of the film seem extraneous), and cuts from melodramatic moment to melodramatic moment. And of course, there is that Movie Announcer Guy voice, shouting, "These Are the Damned!" and all the other "in a world gone mad" stuff. Heaven knows what the audience that saw the movie based on this ad thought.

I envision them walking in, expecting exploitation and melodrama, and then they get hit with glacially-paced, long tracking shots. And most of the exciting sequences are separated by long stretches of time where people talk or stare or do nothing.

It's a good and worthwhile movie, and those artistic choices I list above make sense.  But it is certainly not a mix of Mommy Dearest and The Night Porter.