A plea for reform of England's anti-sodomy statutes, Melville Farr, 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 considers the sodomy law nothing more than an 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 faces in the team of blackmailers' trial.Written by
Mike Mills <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Some people will be jolted by this motion picture. SOme will be shocked. Because it is a film that deals with perhaps one of the most controversial themes the screen has ever dared touch. Banned by some, praised by others, it is a film experience we invite you to judge for yourself. See more »
Although, by the time of this movie, the British police were tending towards leniency in their treatment of homosexual offenders, it would not be until the Sexual Offences Act 1967 (citation 1967 c.60) that homosexuality between consenting males over the age of 21 was decriminalized. Even then, this established an uneven age of consent (16 for heterosexual activity), applied only to England and Wales (Scotland followed in 1980 and Northern Ireland in 1982) and did not apply to the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 reduced the homosexual age of consent to 18 and the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 further reduced it to 16, bringing parity with heterosexual activity. See more »
When Melville is stood outside the Counsel & Clerks office, the shadow of the boom microphone is visible beside the sign, on the wall behind him. See more »
Well it used to be witches. At least they don't burn you.
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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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