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Rather more skilfully plotted than it initially appears, Victim generates considerable tension, and boasts fine performances from an ensemble cast including Sylvia Syms as Farr's wife, Norman Bird, Donald Churchill and John Barrie. Basil Dearden, who memorably featured Bogarde in an early role in The Blue Lamp (1950), directs with professional assurance. Not just a historical document--though the location footage of central London circa 1961 is fascinating in its own right--Victim was instrumental in changing attitudes, which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality. A turning point for Bogarde too, the film marked a move from matinee idol to the more serious fare of The Servant (1963) and Darling (1965).
On the DVD: Victim is presented in an anamorphically enhanced 16:9 transfer, which beautifully captures the noir-ish black-and-white cinematography of Otto Heller. There is occasional print damage, but it is minimal and doesn't distract from the film. The mono sound is very good. The disc also includes the original trailer, an annotated gallery of production photographs and a 28-minute television interview with Dirk Bogarde. This excellent feature was filmed in the actor's house just prior to the release of Victim and finds him discussing his career with particular reference to Hunted (1952), the Doctor comedies, Song Without End (1960) and his latest, "bitterly controversial" picture, which he says couldn't have been made even two years earlier. --Gary S Dalkin
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