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
...
Harold Doe
...
Barrett
...
Eddy
...
Sandy Youth
...
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 | Thriller

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 October 1961 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Teufelskreis  »

Box Office

Budget:

£153,756 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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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

The word "queer" is used in two contexts in this movie. Firstly in "Queer Street" meaning to be in difficulties, particularly financial. Secondly in the whitewash daub on the garage door "FARR IS QUEER" meaning he is gay. 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 »

Connections

Featured in Strip Jack Naked: Nighthawks II (1991) 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

 
Extraordinary for its era....
12 November 2004 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

1961 in England. Homosexuals were routinely jailed just because they were homosexuals. It was still the love that dare not speak its name.

Blackmailers had a terrific open season on gays - extorting funds for silence. It is incredible that this movie was made - on two levels. One being the obvious, who would want to star in such a controversial film?

Enter one Dirk Bogarde, putting both his reputation and his career on the line. He moved deliberately beyond his "Doctor in the House" series of light romantic leading men to make this benchmark film.

It may seem dated today to some eyes, but it captures an authentic London of 1961 and is filmed on location in the streets for most of it. One can see the barriers, goofophiles, holding the passersby back from the location shooting! "Flower Drum Song" is featured on a marquee in one of the scenes.

The suspense is carried along beautifully, you are never sure how it is all going to turn out, there are no easy solutions, there are some wonderful sub-plots, unexpected little surprises, like the childhood friend of a victim staunchly loyal against his wife's homophobic wishes.

The husband and wife story is beautifully depicted and completely non-formulaic. I love the rush and buzz of London surrounding the taut, tense story. Groundbreaking film. 8 out 10.


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