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Victim (1961)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,053 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 43 critic

A prominent lawyer goes after a blackmailer who threatens gay men with exposure (homosexual acts still being illegal). But he's gay himself...

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Title: Victim (1961)

Victim (1961) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Melville Farr
...
Laura
...
Calloway
Anthony Nicholls ...
Lord Fullbrook
...
Paul Mandrake
Norman Bird ...
Harold Doe
Peter McEnery ...
Barrett
Donald Churchill ...
Eddy
...
Sandy Youth
John Barrie ...
Det.Inspector Harris
John Cairney ...
Bridie
Alan MacNaughton ...
Scott Hankin (as Alan MacNaughtan)
...
Phip
Frank Pettitt ...
Barman (as Frank Pettit)
Mavis Villiers ...
Madge
Edit

Storyline

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. Written by Mike Mills <mills@colorado.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Daring Picture About the World's Most Un-talked About Subject.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 October 1961 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

A Vítima  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (pre-censored) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although, by the time of this movie, the British police were tending towards leniency in their treatment of homosexual offenders, it would not be until the Sexual Offences Act 1967 (citation 1967 c.60) that homosexuality between consenting males over the age of 21 was decriminalized. Even then, this established an uneven age of consent (16 for heterosexual activity), applied only to England and Wales (Scotland followed in 1980 and Northern Ireland in 1982) and did not apply to the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 reduced the homosexual age of consent to 18 and the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 further reduced it to 16, bringing parity with heterosexual activity. See more »

Goofs

When the taxi leaves to take the blackmailer back to base to count the loot, the next shot shows the watching policemen about to give chase, with the same taxi parked on the street behind them. See more »

Quotes

Detective Inspector Harris: Someone once called this law against homosexuality the blackmailer's charter.
Melville Farr: Is that how you feel about it?
Detective Inspector Harris: I'm a policeman, sir. I don't have feelings.
See more »


Soundtracks

String Quartet, Op.18
(uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Arranged by Philip Green
See more »

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User Reviews

The gays' raven.
20 November 2001 | by See all my reviews

Henri-George Clouzot's "le corbeau" (the raven,1943) always comes to mind when it comes to slanderous mail.The principal differences between the French movie and Dearden's one is that in the former,the raven was not a blackmailer,he was not in it for the money ,but out of pure wickedness,and he would "punish" not the gay-it was too soon- but the adulterer,the abortion and other little sins.

Dearden's work is a bold move for the time.The movies dealing with homosexuality were very rare then.It was one of the first to fight against intolerance. Of course this topic was in Tennessee Williams' plays ,but it was not really militant .We can mention in the sixties the almost contemporary "children's hour" (Wyler,1963) "the fox "(Mark Rydell,1967) and "the staircase" (Donen,1969).

Dearden's work suffers from a certain inflation of secondary characters which weakens the drama.(Dennis Price's part does not seem much relevant.)Consequently,the best moments are to be found in the first twenty minutes:Peter MC Ennery (who would be Rasputin's assassin in "j'ai tué Raspoutine"(1967) ,and coincidence,this Yusupov was also a gay)'s escape ,recalling sometimes James Mason's in "odd man out" ,is breathtaking:alone in a world gone hostile and threatening,his phone calls remain unanswered,and everybody turns his back on him:his buddy's girlfriend's attitude is telling ,full of contempt and repulsion.The scenes between Dirk Bogarde -I do not need to add to the praise he has already received- and his wife are also great moments of true emotion.Had Dearden focused on the husband/wife/young man,his film would have gained in strength.Nevertheless,this courageous plea is still worth watching.


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