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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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
...
Lord Fullbrook
...
Paul Mandrake
Norman Bird ...
Harold Doe
...
Barrett
Donald Churchill ...
Eddy
...
Sandy Youth
John Barrie ...
Det.Inspector Harris
John Cairney ...
Bridie
Alan MacNaughtan ...
Scott Hankin
...
Phip
Frank Pettitt ...
Barman (as Frank Pettit)
Mavis Villiers ...
Madge
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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:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 October 1961 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

A Vítima  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (pre-censored) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Hawkins, James Mason and Stewart Granger turned down the role of Melville Farr. Then it was decided to make the character younger and Dirk Bogarde accepted the part. See more »

Goofs

Camera shadow on the back of a patron as Barrett exits the phone/toilet room. See more »

Quotes

Frank: Well it used to be witches. At least they don't burn you.
See more »

Connections

Featured in A Bit of Scarlet (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Long Stringy Baby
(uncredited)
Written by Trevor Peacock
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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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