Wednesday, 18 July 2012

victim (1961) - basil dearden

Starring Dirk Bogard and Sylvia Syms, Victim is a ground breaking film in that it portrayed the absurdity of a law that made homosexuality illegal, opening the way for blackmailers to exploit them, threatening them with exposure and probably prison sentences. Bogard plays Melville Farr, a closeted married barrister who decides to hunt down the blackmailers and prosecute them, even if it results his own exposure and downfall. This is due to a young man he had relations with committing suicide, as he was being blackmailed (and trying to protect Farr). When the film was made in 1961, Bogard himself would have been dubious about coming out, as he was a homosexual and could have been prosecuted under the law at the time (it wasn't changed until 1967). This film is often stated as one of the things that helped change public opinion, and should be essential viewing for all. I won't give it away, but there's also a neat twist in the plot, and that is always a bonus in any movie.

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