Basil Dearden, director; Dirk Bogarde, actor
Victim (UK; 1961)
Because of its frank treatment of homosexuality, the British thriller Victim was very controversial upon its release. The film stars Dirk Bogarde as a barrister who, after his former male lover is murdered, takes on an insidious blackmailing ring. Victim was influential in changing laws in the United Kingdom that criminalized homosexuality, and it is still highly respected for its sensitive and powerful portrayal of homosexual issues. Bogarde later starred in two films by openly gay auteur Luchino Visconti. In 1969 Bogarde appeared in Visconte’s exploration of pre-war Germany, The Damned, and in 1971 he starred as the choleric, boy-obsessed composer Aschenback in Visconti’s film adaptation of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice.