7.8/10
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Victim (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama | 11 October 1961 (Denmark)
The death of a young man leads to the discovery of a blackmail plot against several gay men in 1960s London.

Director:

Basil Dearden

Writers:

Janet Green (by), John McCormick (by) | 2 more credits »
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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:
Dirk Bogarde ... Melville Farr
Sylvia Syms ... Laura Farr
Dennis Price ... Calloway
Anthony Nicholls ... Lord Fullbrook
Peter Copley ... Paul Mandrake
Norman Bird ... Harold Doe
Peter McEnery ... Jack Barrett
Donald Churchill ... Eddy Stone
Derren Nesbitt ... Sandy Youth
John Barrie ... Det. Inspector Harris
John Cairney ... Bridie
Alan MacNaughtan ... Scott Hankin
Nigel Stock ... Phip
Frank Pettitt Frank Pettitt ... Barman (as Frank Pettit)
Mavis Villiers ... Madge
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Storyline

A plea for reform of England's anti-sodomy statutes, Melville Farr (Sir Dirk Bogarde), a married lawyer, tries to locate a blackmailer who has photos of Farr and a crying 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 blackmail scheme. Worldly Police Detective Inspector Harris (John Barrie) considers the anti-sodomy law nothing more than a license to blackmailers, and eventually is contacted by Farr to capture the malicious blackmailer. The movie, far ahead of its time, ends with Farr and his loving wife coming to terms with his homosexual tendencies in advance of the public exposure he will face in the team of blackmailers' 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. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1961 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Teufelskreis See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£153,756 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (pre-censored) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point, P.H. (Hilton Edwards) is shown outside a theater showing the musical "Oliver!" on its billboard. In a later scene, the Detective Inspector Harris (John Barrie) says that, as Police, they cannot be dealing with the "Bill Sikes" of the world all the time. Bill Sikes is the notorious criminal in Charles Dickens' novel "Oliver Twist", upon which the musical was based. 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 Dirk Bogarde: By Myself (1992) 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 wisewebwomanSee 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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