Director: Basil Dearden
Screenplay: Janet Green & John McCormick
Role: Melville Farr
Not the best, but arguably the most significant, role of his career saw Dirk give a daring performance as the homosexual barrister Melville Farr, whose career and marriage face ruin at the hands of blackmailers. Sylvia Syms is his supportive wife Laura. The film helped towards the change in public opinion which paved the way for the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. See Lord Arran’s Letter.
John Coldstream's intimate study of Victim examines in detail the background to the production, focusing especially on the relationship between the film-makers, the screenwriters and the censor, John Trevelyan, whose participation at the script stage was crucial to its development. Half a century after its original release, one looks in vain to find Victim in the spasmodic surveys dedicated to identifying the greatest films of all time. However, as Coldstream argues, its recognition as a classic is more than justified by the vital contribution it made to gay cultural history and by its status as 'a movie that mattered'.