But with self-censorship exercised by the US movie moguls and homosexuality being illegal in England until 1967 (fifty years ago this month), when was the word “homosexual” uttered and by whom?
The movie was Basil Dearden’s 1961 “Victim”, a dark drama way ahead of its time dealing with the blackmailing of gay men. Stewart Grainger, James Mason and Jack Hawkins all turned down the lead male role of the closet gay barrister, no doubt because of the effect it might have on their careers. Ironically, it was accepted by the British matinee idol Dirk Bogarde. In his previous movies, it would be hard to imagine him as anything other than a randy young heterosexual. Bogarde was in fact gay, but was to remain in the closet all his life. It must therefore have taken a great deal of courage to play such a character. He was to go on to play other sexually ambiguous characters in Joseph Losey’s “The Servant” and Visconti’s “Death in Venice”.
As Bogarde was to say in this quote from an article in today’s Guardian,
It is extraordinary . . . to believe that this modest film could ever have been considered courageous, daring or dangerous to make. It was, in its time, all three.
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/j ... -narrative
“Victim” is being reissued in the UK on July 21.