A plea for reform of England's anti-sodomy statutes, Melville Farr (Sir Dirk Bogarde), a married lawyer, tries to locate a blackmailer who has photos of Farr and a crying young gay man (who is being blackmailed and later commits suicide) in Farr's car. After the suicide, Farr tracks down other gay men being extorted for money by the same blackmail scheme. Worldly Police Detective Inspector Harris (John Barrie) considers the anti-sodomy law nothing more than a license to blackmailers, and eventually is contacted by Farr to capture the malicious blackmailer. The movie, far ahead of its time, ends with Farr and his loving wife coming to terms with his homosexual tendencies in advance of the public exposure he will face in the team of blackmailers' trial. —Mike Mills <email@example.com>
Excellent ground breaking film
This is probably the most mature film ever made about the realities of gay life in 1960s Europe (not just Britain). Bogard's unflinching portrayal of a gay lawyer's search for the truth about an attempted blackmail of his ex lover is masterful. Sadly, a lot of the particulars depicted here still hold true-gays in public life are still persecuted and subject to blackmail (since not all are "out" in the current sense of the word). There is none of the hideous sniggering anti gay attitude here that characterize many later films about homosexuals (ie, Cruising, and especially, Staircase-a truly awful film featuring two straight actors, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison, both engaged in a disparate attempt to prove they are 'not gay' I suppose). Beyond the subject matter, actually much too serious for a standard film noir, the film is photographed beautifully in moody early sixties black and white, perfect for a noirish crime drama such as this.
- Sep 2, 2007
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