What struck me was the lack of real affection shown by anyone - emotions are repressed between the husband and wife and the gay men also. Of course this real lack of expressing any sort of intimate feeling was a result of the fear of being blackmailed and going to gaol. And I assume also the filmmakers' desire to censor any outward display of affection between the gay characters anyhow. The scenes in the pub relieved this atmosphere at times (but even here the landlord admits he just tolerates the gay drinkers for their business). Sad times that thankfully were not far off beginning to change. The streets of London in 1961 are gloriously photographed in b & w.
"Victim" es una pelicula muy provocativa y valiente con estupendas actuaciones. Muy recomendable.
No fue hasta 1968, 7 a˝os despues de su estreno, que la homosexualidad en Inglaterra dejo de ser un crimen.
Specifically, "Victim" depicts how closeted homosexuals with enviable careers and community standing were often blackmailed. Dirk Bogarde gives one of his marvelously controlled performances as Melville Farr, a prominent lawyer on the verge of a Queen's Counsel promotion. He has an attractive wife (Sylvia Sims) but also a history of homosexual affairs. When blackmailers drive a gay youth to suicide, Farr must choose whether to stay quiet and uphold his reputation, or follow his heart and risk everything to expose the culprits.
The script and actors deserve much credit for resisting stereotypes and showing that homosexuals can be "normal," refined, suit-wearing citizens. But this subtlety also can be a minus: The action is a bit sluggish, since most dialogue is so flattened with that well-known British reserve.
Quite controversial in its day, "Victim" works as both social commentary and as an effective whodunnit. Of course, it's also a must for Bogarde fans.
The film counts in a flock of various characters, among which mostly are gay men (of divergent ranks), under the milieu of repression, some are diffident and dodging, some are well-off and laissez-faire, and depicts a vivid gay scene at then with a briskly unobtrusive measure (in spite of multiply exploiting unsettling close-ups of faces to attenuate the dramatic currents), deftly projects Dirk Bogarde's heroic lawyer as the knight in shining armor to rescue the gay sub-culture being bullied and threatened.
Bogarde is bold (off the screen) and instinctively mesmerizing (on the screen) in the film, even subconsciously one could dive into his dilemma and being shepherded until the exit of the maze, remarkably it is not a common whodunit trickery, no actions, no noir atmosphere, it is a moral lecture with a cogent victory of defending oneself's nature. Sylvia Syms is steadfast in her role as the wife, knowingly indulging her marriage and naively believes there is an alternative, the two-hander between her and Bogarde is the zenith of this film.
The film's laconic 90 minutes length does seep some coerced discontentment, but frankly speaking the story has no loose end, one could divine its subsequent development in his own aftertaste.