Joan Crawford emotes up a storm in The Damned Don't Cry, a ridiculous melodrama that is fairly poor as real drama but is quite enjoyable as camp. Crawford was entering the start of her "monster persona" phase here, the one that would see her creating memorably over-the-top characters that had less and less to do with reality and more and more to do with a hyperreal interpretation of the world. Damned starts out as if it were one of Crawford's earlier "poor gal makes good" flicks, but it quickly becomes lurid and unbelievable. As is often the case in her later vehicles, Damned finds Crawford in a one-dimensional world and asks that she find ways of giving the illusion of depth to her character. Our gal's the one to do it, turning in a thunderous performance that is never less than fascinating, even if it is not necessarily great acting. David Brian and Steve Cochran give game attempts at matching her style, and Kent Smith plays the weak, lily-livered "loving" character in a convincingly weak and lily-livered manner. Vincent Sherman's soapy direction finds little new in the material, but it does keep Crawford front and center and well-spotlit.
by Craig Butler review