In 1950s London racial hostility to Commonweath immigrants is openly paraded. A pregnant girl, initially assumed to be white, is murdered. As two detectives start to investigate, and ... See full summary »
The aristocratic Tony moves to London and hires the servant Hugo Barrett for all services at home. Barrett seems to be a loyal and competent employee, but Tony's girlfriend Susan does not ... See full summary »
British diplomat Harrington Brande takes up his new post in Spain accompanied by his son Nicholas. The posting is something of a disappointment to the elder Brande who was hoping for a ... See full summary »
Stephen is a married Oxford professor experiencing the pangs of a mid-life crisis as he begins to bristle at the stifling emotional repression of the society in which he lives. Things begin... See full summary »
In Northern England in the early 1960s, Frank Machin is mean, tough and ambitious enough to become an immediate star in the rugby league team run by local employer Weaver. Machin lodges ... See full summary »
Mrs. Christopher, a kindly volunteer worker at a large hospital, does a favor for a patient by delivering a sum of money to Mr. Sine. When she discovers he is a blackmailer, she threatens ... See full summary »
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>
"Victim" is probably the first mainstream film on either side of the Atlantic to feature a gay hero. Granted, Dirk Bogarde plays a married closet case who hasn't actually engaged in a homosexual act in many years. Nonetheless, it's fairly amazing that, given what we know about attitudes toward gay people in the 1950's that a film this affirming of gay rights could have been made in 1961. It's a movie that's much more about "gay" as an identity than it is about sexuality; it centers on a blackmail ring that includes our closeted hero, a star of the London theatre, a lonely old barber, a Rolls-Royce salesman, and others. As a group, the gay men are intermittently desperate, proud, accepting, self-loathing, and scared -- which said more to me about 1961 than it said about gay men. The title is interesting to me; it seems that the journey of Bogarde's character seems to be the road out of victimization and toward (if this isn't too corny) self-actualization. It's a mildly entertaining movie, but a fascinating historical artifact.
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