Home > Cinema > Victim

Victim

Basil Dearden’s ground-breaking thriller was first released in 1961. With its location shooting, noirish lighting, and doomed characters, it was instrumental in paving the way for the legalisation of homosexuality in Britain. Dirk Bogarde, Britain’s most revered matinee idol, risked his career to portray Melville Farr, a closeted gay lawyer, at a time when homosexual acts were a crime. When his former lover Jack (Peter McEnery) is blackmailed, Farr – who is married – agrees to investigate. The case is complicated by his fear of being exposed and a sudden mysterious death. In addition to its pioneering treatment of a long-repressed crime, Victim is also notable for its sympathetic and non-stereotypical depictions of gay men. It was also the first English language film to use the word homosexual.