By  on October 14, 2010

Forty-one years ago today, Italian director Luchino Visconti released the controversial film “The Damned,” which told the story of a rich German industrial family, the Von Essenbecks, during the early years of the Third Reich. There’s corruption, orgies, massacres, pedophilia, plummeting dynasties and Helmut Berger infamously in drag as Marlene Dietrich in “The Blue Angel.” On Jan. 21, 1970, a month after the U.S. debut, WWD published an interview with Charlotte Rampling, who played Elisabeth Thallman, a member of the clan and wife to a Nazi opposer. Thallman dies in the Holocaust. “I think many people would rather close their eyes and pretend it never happened,” Rampling said. “But it did, and it was shown very honestly. It’s pure truth, showing the corruption that money and power can bring.”

The costumes in the film “were marvelous,” she added. “They made you a whole outfit right down to the underwear. It took a whole morning to get ready, because Visconti, the director, wouldn’t let anything start until everything was absolutely right. Even the Champagne was real. There was no sham anywhere.” Rampling admitted to being more lax in her own wardrobe. “What I’d like to wear is something like a body stocking I could put on and forget,” she said. “But what I’d really like is to live in the sun in nothing at all.”

WWD found the actress, post-“Damned,” living the leisurely life in London with her then-boyfriend, producer Tom Weaver. “They lead a remote, almost deep-country existence,” wrote our U.K. correspondent, “preoccupied with friends, the children, music, yoga and, most of all, thought.” Rampling discussed her vegetarian habits (“we’re not even carnivorous animals; we don’t have the teeth for it”), yoga (“you can sit quietly for hours and just let your mind work”), London (“we’re just not city people, I don’t know what we’re doing here”) and New York (“the people there are…all frantically trying to grasp onto something”). As for the movie that first shot her to stardom, the 1966 film “Georgy Girl,” Rampling said, “For a while after that, people who met me were surprised I wasn’t a bitch, that was really nice. But people have to attach labels to things.”

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