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Children of the Damned

Entry updated 8 January 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1963; vt Horror!). MGM. Directed by Anton M Leader. Written by Jack Briley, based on The Midwich Cuckoos (1957; rev 1958; vt Village of the Damned 1960) by John Wyndham. Cast includes Alan Badel, Barbara Ferris, Ian Hendry and Bessie Love. 90 minutes. Black and white.

This UK film is not a sequel to the successful Village of the Damned (1960); it is a remake, though much more remotely based on Wyndham's novel. This time the setting is urban. Once again, children are born with mysterious powers. They are gathered in London for investigation from different parts of the world. Where in the first film the children were malevolent, here they are treated more sympathetically; they remain children despite their superhuman qualities, and their destruction is a consequence of human fear and ignorance, not any hostile actions of their own. Moody use is made of the shadowy, ruined church where much of the action takes place. Though low-key and made with almost too much UK restraint, Children of the Damned is sadder and more pungent than its predecessor in its story of (literal) alienation. [JB/PN]


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