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The Damned$
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Nick Riddle

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325529

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325529.001.0001

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Damned Kids

Damned Kids

(p.57) Chapter 6: Damned Kids
The Damned

Nick Riddle

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses the children in Joseph Losey's The Damned (1963). King's gang, if not actually orphans, are given no mothers or fathers to rail against. The children themselves, of course, are orphans, or at least motherless, and there is also an absence of the 'domestic', in the sense that one never sees a 'home' in the conventional sense. Yet parenthood, childhood, and generative power are strong themes in the film. Meanwhile, Bernard's children — well-spoken, precocious, innocent but deadly — have a lineage that is particularly British in origin. They also share with a handful of contemporary films the distinction of introducing something sinister into the cultural iconography of the child. So who, exactly, are 'The Damned'? Clearly, it is the young in general, consigned to an uncertain fate by nuclear proliferation and the Cold War, by the establishment struggling to maintain the vestiges of an empire, and by social attitudes that see them as a problem to be contained.

Keywords:   Joseph Losey, The Damned, children, orphans, parenthood, childhood, generative power, nuclear proliferation, Cold War

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