This film is the story of the Von Essenbecks, a family of steel magnates in Germany. Set in the 1930's, this 1969 film opens dramatically on the night of the Reichstag fire in Berlin when the head of the family, Baron Joachim (Albert Shoenhals), is murdered by Friedrich (Dirk Bogarde), the boss of the steel mill and lover of the Baron's daughter-in-law, Sophie (Ingrid Thulin).
With a family who could teach the Borgias a few things about hedonism, a series of brutal power games begins for control of the firm, all under the watchful gaze of a hardline Nazi, Assenbach (Helmut Griem). One of Friedrich and Sophie's rivals, Baron Konstantin (Rene Kolldehoff), is killed during the Night of the Long Knives, and the couple is now left facing Sophie's teenage son Martin (Helmut Berger), a transvestite paedophile and the family heir. With Assenbach's help, Martin turns on his mother and her lover and begins to plot their downfall, leaving the SS in complete control.
A chilling and truly haunting movie, The Damned contains fine performances from Bogarde, Berger and Thulin, with Charlotte Rampling particularly memorable as the liberal forced to flee, unsuccessfully, for her life.