The Damned Review

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The rise of the Third Reich as seen through the dealings of a family of aristocratic German arms manufacturers in the 20s and 30s, with Dirk Bogarde as the soulless manipulator who becomes a Nazi pawn, and Helmut Berger overdoing things as a paedophile transvestite who somehow comes to represent the spirit of the age. Visconti draws on a variety of sources : the story of Macbeth (with Ingrid Thulin and Charlotte Rampling as Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff), the intricate plot and counter-plot of soap opera, and the screen-filling lavish baroque of classic Hollywood melodramatics, with even a touch of grand opera thrown in.

It's overlong and overcooked, but some of the set-pieces are wonderfully decadent.