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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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Violent Reactions and Absurd Heroics

Violent Reactions and Absurd Heroics

(p.95) Chapter 10: Violent Reactions and Absurd Heroics
The Damned

Nick Riddle

Liverpool University Press

This chapter reflects on the heroic failure to rescue the radioactive children in Joseph Losey's The Damned (1963). In the latter half of The Damned, the children are released, only to be rounded up and re-incarcerated; this is not what one expects of a rescue plot. The chapter offers several suggestions that, at least partially, fit with the larger narrative and with the terms of Losey's film-making at this point. First, for the children it enacts a kind of fall, just as the other characters have fallen, but in this case it is a fall from innocence or ignorance. Second, it leaves one in no doubt as to the ruthlessness and effectiveness of the state-sanctioned violence. And third, in a film that has been drawing circles since the very first shot, here at the centre is the tightest, and the cruellest, circular motion of all.

Keywords:   radioactive children, Joseph Losey, The Damned, rescue plot, innocence, state-sanctioned violence

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