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      Victim

      Released Feb 5, 1962 1h 40m Mystery & Thriller Drama TRAILER for Victim: Trailer 1 List Victim: Trailer 1 Victim: Trailer 1 2:19 View more videos
      100% Tomatometer 31 Reviews 87% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings In early 1960s London, barrister Melville Farr (Dirk Bogarde) is on the path to success. With his practice winning cases and a loving marriage to his wife (Sylvia Syms), Farr's career and personal life are nearly idyllic. However, when blackmailers link Farr to a young gay man (Peter McEnery), everything Farr has worked for is threatened. As it turns out, Farr is a closeted homosexual -- which is problematic, due to Britain's anti-sodomy laws. But instead of giving in, Farr decides to fight. Read More Read Less

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      Victim

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      Victim

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      Critics Consensus

      Further elevated by a strong central performance from Dirk Bogarde, Victim offers an eloquent and emotionally affecting argument against prejudice.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Terence Kelly Sight & Sound Dirk Bogarde offers one of his best performances... He is homosexual only by inclination, never by act. Yet even such equivocation is a big step towards candour, and casting a star in such a part demands courage. Jul 11, 2018 Full Review J. R. Jones Chicago Reader Victim may seem archaic. But even its compromises teach us something about the era that produced it. Rated: 3/4 Mar 22, 2018 Full Review David Jenkins Little White Lies The film's presentation of sexual oppression remains shockingly relevant to this day. Rated: 4/5 Jul 22, 2017 Full Review Janet Graves Photoplay It is outspoken -- but honestly so, not cheaply designed to merely shock its audience. Nov 17, 2020 Full Review Michael J. Casey Boulder Weekly A socio-conscious noir where a picture of one man consoling another runs a streak of destruction through multiple lives. Rated: 4/5 Jul 7, 2020 Full Review Don Slater ONE With typically British genius for compromise, the motion picture Victim which treats the subject of homosexuality almost fairly, if not squarely, also is a "jolly good thriller." May 19, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      harwee h Great landmark film. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/16/24 Full Review Matthew B In 1961, homosexuality was still illegal in Britain, and would remain so for another six years. It was a crime in the same way that robbery and violence were crimes. Performing homosexual acts was a prisonable office, though by this stage the police had little enthusiasm for prosecuting gays. Nonetheless exposure of one's sexual orientation could lead to ostracism, loss of reputation and loss of employment. Scriptwriter Janet Green firmly supported reform of the laws on homosexuality. She recognised that they constituted a "blackmailer's charter". According to one of the characters in the film, 90% of blackmail cases in Britain at that time were related to homosexuality. As Victim makes clear, the law made gay men the victims of "every cheap thug". Victim is the story of a crime investigation, and there is a whodunit element too. Green's script leads the viewer down a few wrong alleys. Who are the two men that spend their time observing everyone in the local pub, making catty remarks, and posting letters? Are they the blackmailers? What about the rat-faced man who appears in several scenes. There is also a Judas figure. The man working to expose the blackmail racket is a barrister, Melville Farr (Dirk Bogarde). What is his interest in the case? Well, while Superintendent Hazard and Inspector Learoyd) in Sapphire were outsiders looking in on the case, Farr himself has homosexual leanings, and is right in the middle of the affair. This does not seem obvious at the start of the film. Farr is seemingly happily married. The only kissing that we see in the film is when Farr kisses his wife, Laura (Sylvia Syms). Farr has her photo on his desk at work. He seems like a normal respectable man who has the chance to become a QC if no skeletons emerge from his cupboard. Those skeletons do exist though. A young builder called Jack ‘Boy' Barrett (Peter McEnery) seems eager to get in touch with Farr, and Farr seems equally unenthusiastic to see Barrett. Barrett gets into trouble with the police. He has been stealing from his workplace. Inspector Harris suspects that Barrett is more victim than culprit, and that he is being blackmailed. By the time Farr becomes involved, Barrett has hanged himself. It soon emerges that the two men regularly met, though their sexual interest in one another went unconsummated. However Farr feels guilty that he refused to speak to Barrett. He had not realised Barrett was being blackmailed; he thought Barrett was trying to blackmail him. Instead Barrett killed himself so as not to incriminate Farr. This causes Farr to decide to expiate his guilt by investigating the blackmailing. This is a dangerous business for Farr because it will mean exposure of his own homosexuality, and this will put his career and marriage in jeopardy. The courage shown by Farr on-screen was mirrored in the courage that Dirk Bogarde showed in agreeing to play the role. Bogarde was himself a closet homosexual, and remained so until his death. Like Farr, he had the opportunity for a more successful career, and threw it away by appearing in Victim. Bogarde was then the most popular actor in British cinema, and had the chance to break through into the American market. This film brought his popularity to an end, though it did open the way for Bogarde to appear in far more interesting roles in arthouse movies. Janet Green's script balances the issues of a marriage in which a man has an interest in his own sex. Farr is the film's hero, but Laura's suffering as a betrayed wife is sensitively portrayed. In a homophobic society, is it fair on a woman to find she has married a man who is concealing longings that she cannot fulfil? There is no happy ending here. A ring of blackmailers have been caught, but Farr's only reward is a shattered marriage, a damaged career, and public disgrace. The root causes of the problem have not been addressed. However the making of films such as Victim did open the way for society to change in a way that would end these abuses forever. I wrote a longer appreciation of Victim, the second part of a two-part review which also looks at another Basil Dearden work, Sapphire. If you would like to read more, you can check out my blog: https://themoviescreenscene.wordpress.com/2021/02/03/victim-1961/ Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/26/23 Full Review PridePosterStudios A fantastic, ground-breaking piece. The BBFC gave Victim- the first known English language film to use the word ‘homosexual’- an ‘X’ rating. It has since been reclassified as PG. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 05/10/24 Full Review Peppie T Enjoyed seeing Bogarde navigate a precarious situation. A statement for justice — something Iran & Russia need to learn. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 06/26/23 Full Review John T A brilliant movie in every way Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/22/22 Full Review john k Excellent movie from start to finish Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Victim

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis In early 1960s London, barrister Melville Farr (Dirk Bogarde) is on the path to success. With his practice winning cases and a loving marriage to his wife (Sylvia Syms), Farr's career and personal life are nearly idyllic. However, when blackmailers link Farr to a young gay man (Peter McEnery), everything Farr has worked for is threatened. As it turns out, Farr is a closeted homosexual -- which is problematic, due to Britain's anti-sodomy laws. But instead of giving in, Farr decides to fight.
      Director
      Basil Dearden
      Producer
      Michael Relph
      Screenwriter
      Janet Green, John McCormick
      Distributor
      Home Vision Entertainment
      Production Co
      Allied Filmmakers
      Genre
      Mystery & Thriller, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Feb 5, 1962, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Feb 25, 2017
      Runtime
      1h 40m
      Sound Mix
      Mono
      Aspect Ratio
      35mm
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