Q-Film Weekender: Victim

1961| PG| 101 mins| /

Screening Dates:
Sun 22 October 2:30pm

Director: Basil Dearden
Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price

The stylish and shocking social issue thriller starring Dirk Bogarde, initiated a major development of the country’s human rights legislation and a movement towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Hiding in plain sight, the gay community of 1960s London call Soho their home. This cloistered community live in fear of persecution and under the shadow of blackmail; in a world where gossip spreads through whispered conversations and meaningful glances in crowded bars, where compromising photographs circulate in anonymous envelopes, and where young men are found dead in mysterious circumstances.

Enter Melville Farr: a successful barrister – and a married man – who is drawn into a murder enquiry involving a former acquaintance. As Farr finds himself increasingly implicated in the case, he becomes determined to catch those responsible and refuses to meekly accept his peers’ pact of silence and role as victim.

Released in 1961, Victim was a controversial exposé of London’s gay subculture and the criminal underworld praying on this closeted community. Today it remains a unique proposition within British genre cinema: politically compelling, formally polished and the perfect vehicle for Bogarde in a period of his career marked by challenging, subversive roles. The initial furore surrounding Victim may have died down, but the film’s significance has long outlived the outcry.

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