The Damned | Chicago Reader

The Damned

This French thriller (1947) by René Clément is best remembered for its extended tracking shot down the length of a German submarine, but those close quarters wouldn't count for anything if Clément hadn’t filled them with an assortment of shifty characters. As Allied forces close in on Berlin, high-ranking Nazis and well-connected French sympathizers shove off from Oslo in search of political refuge; after one of them is wounded, they send a landing party ashore to kidnap a French doctor, but the battle lines in the sub begin to break down when word comes of Hitler's death. Clément conjures up some good suspense sequences as the doctor hatches a plan to escape in an inflatable dinghy, though what really powers the story is the director's icy contempt for his ship of fools. In French with subtitles.


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