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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
Straightforward, non-sensationalized British film, an original from screenwriters Janet Green and John McCormick, has a ring of blackmailers taking advantage of the laws prohibiting homosexuality in England and threatening to 'out' certain parties if they don't pay up; after one victim commits suicide, a former friend--and married lawyer--decides to play detective and expose the blackmailers, at the risk of ruining his own career and marriage. Dirk Bogarde is excellent in the lead; his grimace of both humility and humiliation is rather touching, and very human. The victims are the usual lot (an actor, a hairdresser, etc.), but the film is exceptionally engrossing and well-made, neatly camouflaging its plea for tolerance under the guise of a suspense drama (and the denouement is nicely staged). Director Basil Dearden includes a few intentionally sardonic visuals, and he isn't afraid to knock down walls (though any male-to-male intimacy stays off-screen). Still, a watermark for gay cinema. *** from ****
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