Today's film is a historical look at homosexuality and a pretty good noir thriller. The film's history is listed below and it's pretty amazing. Plus, the film itself is, as is usually the case, packaged especially by me with retro movie previews, drive-in craziness, and even an intermission. Fun vintage stuff.
Enjoy yourself ...
"Victim is a 1961 British suspense film directed by Basil Dearden, starring Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms. It is notable in film history for being the first English language film to use the word 'homosexual'. The world premiere was at the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square on 31 August 1961. On its release in the United Kingdom it proved highly controversial and was initially banned in the United States. Director Basil Dearden's non-judgmental, ground-breaking thriller was a daring landmark film with its head-on presentation of the 'un-talked about' topic of homosexuality in the early 60s, when Britain still had anti-sodomy statutes as law.
Victim became a highly sociologically significant film; many believe it played an influential role in liberalising attitudes (as well as the laws in Britain) regarding homosexuality. It was not a major hit but by 1971 had earned an estimated profit of £51,762. The British Board of Film Censors originally gave the film an X rating. In a letter to the filmmakers, the BBFC secretary raised four objections to the film. First, a male character says of another man, 'I wanted him'. Second, references to self-control in the revised script were left out of a filmed discussion of homosexuality, leaving the discussion 'without sufficient counterbalance'. Third, the film implies that homosexuality is a choice, which 'is a dangerous idea to put into the minds of adolescents who see the film'. Finally, when the blackmailer Brenda unleashes a tirade against homosexuality, her popular view will be discredited since she is such an unsympathetic character.
In the United States, the use of the term 'homosexual', and its opposition to anti-gay criminal laws, kept the film from receiving approval by the Hollywood Production Code. A few years prior to Victim, the film makers of Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) had persuaded the code censors to allow their film to use homosexuality as a plot device, but only if presented through cryptic innuendos, and film had to illustrate the 'horrors of such a lifestyle'. The film Victim, in contrast, was deemed to be too frank and liberal in its treatment of homosexuality, and, thus, was initially not given approval by the censorship code. However, in 1962, the Hollywood Production Code had agreed to lift the ban on film's using homosexuality as a plot device. A few years later the code itself would be replaced by the Motion Picture Association of America, which introduced age-appropriate classification for films.
AMC listed Victim in it's '100 Most Controversial Films Of All Time' for it's frank, honest look at homosexuality."