“Is there no limit to the power of these children?"
John Wyndham’s 1957 novel “The Midwich Cuckoos” is the foundation for Wolf Rilla’s 1960 film “Village of the Damned.” It’s hard to say which title may actually be worse, but the story in both seems to work for most people. It’s a decent sci-fi story that, while dated, creates an interesting scenario with all the women in a village being impregnated at the same time by some alien force. Even with that interesting scenario, however, for every element that works in favor of the film, there seems to be another working against it. At least with today’s eyes. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Naughty Children series with Rilla’s 1960 film “Village of the Damned.” We talk about what works and what doesn’t, as well as why some of that matters more when it comes to actual enjoyment of the film (at least for Andy) and what they could have done to make it better. We chat about the performances, notably George Sanders, Barbara Shelley and Martin Stephens, and what they bring to the table. When it comes to Shelley, we also chat about the fact that her part is largely dismissed and why it bothers us so much. We discuss the look of the film with Rilla’s documentary approach as well as cinematographer Geoffrey Faithfull’s overall look, which worked nicely for us. And we look at MGM’s history with the film and touch on why they filmed it in England instead of Hollywood. It’s a fun film that, if you think too much about, you’ll find tons of problems; Pete sees the problems while Andy sees the fun. Check out the movie then tune in!
- Script Transcript
- Original theatrical trailer
- Original poster artwork
- The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham