Victim | Chicago Reader

Victim

96 minutes 1961

When the British drama Victim was released in 1961, homosexual acts between consenting adults were still illegal in England, and though police had grown tired of prosecuting these victimless crimes, the British tabloids pounced on any sort of sex scandal, creating a rich market for blackmailers. Four years earlier, an influential government report had rejected the notion of homosexuality as a mental illness and recommended that it be legalized. Into this climate the Rank Organisation, a giant in British entertainment, cast Dirk Bogarde, the UK's most popular matinee idol, as Melville Farr, a married, middle-aged barrister who’s being blackmailed for his romantic attachment to a young construction worker. "It is extraordinary, in this over-permissive age, to believe that this modest film could ever have been considered courageous, daring or dangerous to make," Bogarde remembered in 1978. "It was, in its time, all three." Continue reading>>

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