HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  Victim Make A Stand On The Stand
Year: 1961
Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price, Nigel Stock, Peter McEnery, Donald Churchill, Anthony Nicholls, Hilton Edwards, Norman Bird, Derren Nesbitt, Alan McNaughton, Noel Howlett, Charles Lloyd Pack, John Barrie, John Cairney, David Evans, Peter Copley
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Barrett (Peter McEnery) is at work on a building site when he notices a police car draw up nearby and panics - he has been embezzling. He flees to the nearest telephone and calls his flatmate to get a package and bring it to him as soon as possible; there are police at his flat as well, but the friend manages to escape and the package is received by Barrett who then calls barrister Melville Farr (Dirk Bogarde), but he tells him never to contact him again. Desperate, Barrett knows he must flee the country, but the cops catch up with him in a motorway cafe and the whole blackmail plot begins to be exposed - yet lives are in the balance...

Victim may have taken the form of a blackmail mystery, but it had serious social issues on its mind. When it was made, homosexuality was still illegal in Britain and most of the world for that matter, and as the inspector says in the film, this was a blackmailer's charter. The same team who had made this had tackled another of society's troubles in Sapphire where racism was at the centre of the drama, but they found Victim would be far more problematic in that nobody wanted to be in it, and when it was finally made nobody wanted to see it, this despite the publicity it had generated.

Dirk Bogarde was that brave matinee idol stepping into the most controversial role of his career to that date, but not only did this free him from the Doctor in the House type of role he was growing sick of, but it led the way to more adventurous films in the proceeding decade. He brings integrity to Victim, and you believe him when he says he was involved with Barrett "Because I wanted him!", a daring scene in a film that really could have used more spark. In fact, the guilt that the homosexual characters feel seems to affect Janet Green and John McCormick's screenplay, as if they're uneasily making excuses in the face of national opprobrium.

Every so often there will be a conversation along the lines of "those poor people, they don't deserve such treatment, it's not their fault they are the way they are" and so on, to counter the more objectionable "bunch of perverts" vitriol other characters spout. Director Basil Dearden makes the point clearly in favour for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, but he does so by having Farr a happily married man at the outset - heterosexual viewers at the time might have been baffled that he would bother with another man when he was married to a woman who looked like Sylvia Syms.

Farr's wife is horrified but supportive when she finds out that he had recently broken off a relationship with Barrett, and now Barrett has killed himself in police custody the powerful barrister is the victim of blackmail himself. But he is not going to give in without a fight, and the whodunnit narrative sets in where Farr hunts down the criminals alone. One thing about the film is the way it portrays its homosexuals not as freaks but deeply ordinary folks, with only Dennis Price's actor displaying the slightest touch of flamboyance, but this doesn't make for an exciting thriller. It's heart may be in the right place, and it is rightly admired for assisting in the scrapping of the unjust laws a few years later, but Victim is a worthy and earnest period piece now. In a way, it's good that it is so dated compared to today. Music by Philip Green.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4345 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Basil Dearden  (1911 - 1971)

Dependable British director who began his film career working on Will Hay comedies like My Learned Friend, then moved onto a range of drama and comedy: a segment of classic horror Dead of Night, important crime film The Blue Lamp, The Smallest Show on Earth, excellent heist story The League of Gentlemen, social issues film Victim, action spectaculars Khartoum and The Assassination Bureau and quirky horror The Man Who Haunted Himself. Sadly, Dearden died in a car crash.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: