THE DAMNED (1969)
LA CADUTA DEGLI DEI
1969, 156 min, Italy/West Germany, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Director Luchino Visconti's astounding, sumptuous chronicle of the fall of the German Von Essenbeck dynasty during the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Scheming Sophie (Ingrid Thulin), scion of the dying aristocratic family, goads husband Frederick (Dirk Bogarde) to commit all manner of heinous acts to usurp control of the clan's munitions factories. As the brutally repressive forces of Nazism bloom into full flower, a series of personal betrayals plagues their immediate relatives as well as all of their acquaintances, culminating in the first of Hitler's purges, the Night of the Long Knives. Sophie and Frederick's corrupt empire grows by nefarious means, but they don't count on Sophie's mentally deranged, pedophile son Martin (Helmut Berger), who surpasses them all in not only decadence and depravity but also in his bottomless capacity for vindictive evil. Maurice Jarre supplies one of his most memorable, operatic scores. With Charlotte Rampling, Florinda Bolkan, Helmut Griem and Umberto Orsini.


CEASE FIRE
1953, Kino Lorber, 75 min, USA, Dir: Owen Crump

This unique and unforgettable war documentary (one of the first of its kind in 3-D) features real American soldiers re-enacting a Korean War operation as Lieutenant Thompson and 13 others in his platoon face countless hurdles that all lead to a harrowing finale. The re-enactments are spliced with real battle footage from the mission that blurs the line between reality and fiction. The New York Times called it “a robust, hair-raising realization of the ruggedness of the foot soldiers’ war in the ugly hills of Korea.”


THE CAINE MUTINY
1954, Sony Repertory, 124 min, USA, Dir: Edward Dmytryk

A superb ensemble cast, including Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Fred MacMurray and Van Johnson, leads this classic adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel. Bogart is Captain Queeg, a paranoid authoritarian whose men (led by Johnson and MacMurray) stage a mutiny in the last days of WWII. Ferrer is the brilliant military lawyer who takes on the case once the ship returns to port. Lee Marvin is on hand as a crewman and E.G. Marshall is a withering prosecutor at the court-martial.


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