August 11, 2013 · 6:00 PM
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Screening of "Victim"
1961 British Dick Bogard, Sylvia Syms
I had not seen this film, or was aware of its existence, until a couple years ago. So I was astonished by its brazen gay-is-normal take on a minority group that, at that time, existed totally below public awareness. It is not only the first English-language film to use the term "homosexual," but the first to feature one as the protagonist.
A plea to reform England's anti-sodomy statutes, the film pits Melville Farr (Dirk Bogard), a married lawyer, against a blackmailer who has photos of Farr having sex with a young man (being blackmailed & later commits suicide) in Farr's car. After the suicide, Farr tracks down other gay men who've been extorted for money by the same blackmailer. A well-educated police detective (who considers England's sodomy laws nothing but an invitation for blackmail) helps Farr to call the blackmailer's bluff. What happens next became a revelation for both British and Am. moviegoers of that long-ago time - and even now.
The movie is a solid, well-constructed thriller, beautifully directed, intensely acted and in a brilliant realization of the British version of film noir. When first released, the British Film Board Censors gave the movie an X rating and the term, "homosexual," originally precluded its release in America. But the Am. film code changed the following year and the film was allowed to be shown on a limited basis.
The trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPXjIySzzC8
Please arrive at 6:00p for light dinner, drinks and socializing.
Move starts at 7:00p (1 hr, 30 min)
$5 donation at the door