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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The "QC", for which Farr is in contention, stands for "Queen's Counsel," a senior status in the legal profession, conferred by the Crown, that originated in England and Wales and was recognized in the UK and British Commonwealth nations in 1961, when this film was made. Historically, only barristers, and not solicitors, had the right of audience (the right to argue cases in higher courts). Long-serving barristers of excellent reputation could hope to be appointed as "Queen's Counsel" and granted the privileges of sitting at the inner Bar of court and wearing silk gowns of a special design. Once awarded, members could use the post-nominal "QC", as in "John Smith, QC". During the reign of a male sovereign, the status "King's Counsel" and the post-nominal "KC" are used. The practice and protocols of appointing QCs have changed in more recent times, and many British Commonwealth nations have abolished it altogether. See more »
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 »
It would be easy to view this movie as nothing more than a somewhat dated film. However, for it's time, this movie was ground-breaking, for any number of reasons, including its superb acting. Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms, in particular, were perfect in their parts.
What many don't realize is that this movie is credited with helping to decriminalize homosexuality in Britain. When "Victim" was released, it started a nationwide discussion about homosexuality and associated blackmail. At the time, approximately 90% of all blackmail cases involved homosexuals, and Bogarde's character was a classic example of a blackmail "victim". The point of the movie wasn't that all homosexuals were victims, but they could only be victims so long as the law permitted it. The blackmail wasn't merely because they were homosexual, but due to the harsh prison sentences a homosexual could (and often did) receive. How often does a movie get the opportunity to help create such a profound change in society?
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