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Victim

UK, English, 90 mins

  • Director: Basil Dearden
  • Writer: Janet Green; John McCormick
  • Producer: Michael Relph; Basil Dearden

CGiii Comment

Not a thief...but, a victim - polite police, a tragic nobility.

Watch to understand.

It takes 27 minutes before the *homosexual* word is uttered.

Pull down the blinds, be sensible and watch this...ground-breaking, earth-shattering.

Incredible to think that few films can stand up to this sad and extra-ordinary piece of work.

The gay-against-gay issue is too rare.

Simply...one of the best films in CGiii.


Trailer...

The(ir) Blurb...

A plea for reform of England's anti-sodomy statutes, this film pits Melville Farr, a married lawyer, against a blackmailer who has photos of Farr and a young gay man (who is being blackmailed and later commits suicide) in Farr's car. After the suicide, Farr tracks down other gay men being extorted for money by the same blackmailer. The well-educated police Detective Inspector Harris considers the sodomy law nothing more than an aid to blackmailers, and helps Farr in calling his blackmailer's bluff. The movie, far ahead of its time, ends with Farr and his wife coming to terms with his homosexuality after the public exposure he faces in the blackmailer's trial.


“It is extraordinary,” Dirk Bogarde recalled in his autobiography, “in this over-permissive age, to believe that this modest film could ever have been considered courageous, daring or dangerous to make. It was, in its time, all three.” Shot in the wake of 1957’s Wolfenden Report, a hotly debated government study that recommended the decriminalization of same-sex relations in Britain, Victim is a supremely artful message film. Taking the shape of a detective story, it concerns a closeted barrister who becomes embroiled in a blackmailing scheme targeting gay men, prompting him to take on the extortionists despite the cost to his marriage and promising career. As the first commercial production in the UK to fully address homosexuality, Victim is a social landmark, yet its reverberations can be felt still further across film history; it made a tremendous impression, in particular, on a then-teenage Terence Davies.

Cast & Characters

Dirk Bogarde as Melville Farr;
Sylvia Syms as Laura;
Dennis Price as Calloway;
Nigel Stock as Phip;
Peter McEnery as Barrett;
Donald Churchill as Eddy;
Anthony Nicholls as Lord Fullbrook;
Hilton Edwards as P.H.;
Norman Bird as Harold Doe;
Derren Nesbitt as Sandy Youth;
Alan MacNaughton as Scott Hankin;
Noel Howlett as Patterson;
Charles Lloyd Pack as Henry;
John Barrie as Det. Inspector Harris;
John Cairney as Bridie

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