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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 3 February 2016
In my view this is Dirk Bogarde's finest hour as a London Barrister involved in trying to bring down a blackmailing operation. The film was very daring for it's time, and full credit therefore to Mr.Bogarde for taking on a potentially tricky role. However everyone in this film acquits themselves very well, with Sylvia Syms also excellent in a role that other actresses reputedly turned down. The film is now dated due to the enormous changes in attitudes and tolerances over the ensuing 55 years, but the quality of the writing and acting and the lovely period of early 1960's London captured make it for me one of my all time favourite films. The DVD quality is sharp and it contain a short interview with Dirk Bogarde. First class.
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on 6 April 2009
This is one of those classic British movies - and the film world would be a sadder place without it.

Faultlessly directed by Basil Dearden, it's a dark melodrama of unpleasant matters, mostly concerning the antiquated laws governing gay culture.

Remember that the film was made in 1961 - before the sexual revolution, and before homosexuality was decriminalised. In hushed tones, the press of the time would occasionally mention a 'subculture' or a 'twilight world' that respectable people wanted nothing to do with.

Well, in this brilliant and ultimately uplifting film, the most upstanding and right-thinking characters are brought face to face with things they would perhaps prefer not to admit.

Blackmail, fear, and obsession stalk the monochrome streets of London - and this film is endlessly absorbing.

There are plenty of surprises, some of them very touching, and the acting from the well-chosen cast is superb throughout. Dirk Bogarde is terrific as a lawyer about to reach the peak of his career - only to have his ambitions dashed by -

But that would spoil it. The plot is cleverer than that, and keeps you guessing.

Be glad this film is available on dvd in such a sumptuous print - it's one to return to again and again. Go buy.
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on 27 April 2017
Excellent movie by Dirk Bogarde
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on 20 April 2017
Great film
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on 15 April 2017
Very good
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on 21 June 2017
Great film.
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on 31 March 2009
Dirk Bogarde plays Farr, a top barrister on the verge of becoming a judge, who thinks he's being blackmailed by a young man with whom he once had a brief, platonic dalliance. As it turns out, the young man is the one who is being blackmailed about his relationship with Farr and to protect Farr he kills himself. Farr resolves to track down the blackmailers and bring them to court, even though that will expose his own situation and in so doing end his career, his marriage, and as that was the law then, get him sent to jail.

This film manages to succeed in everything it tries to do. Firstly it is a classic piece of campaigning film making, bringing home how ridiculous the legal situation was then. In fact, it has been said that this film managed to help in some small way to change the law.

Wisely though the film doesn't preach too obviously at the audience, which would create something that is worthy but dull, as is often the case with campaigning films. Instead it draws you in with a well-constructed mystery tale. There are numerous story strands with red herrings galore, each inviting you to work out who the blackmailers are and who else is involved with the mystery being viewed from both the police's and the victims' viewpoint. The characters too are believable and the acting from the leads is convincing. Dirk's relationship with his wife Sims in particular is moving.

Even though the film is ahead of its time, some aspects feel clunky. Every time a bigot expresses a view you feel that the script has been analysed beforehand by the censors to produce a speech they'll accept. And there's a silly bit where it's realized that a famous actor is being blackmailed but his name is drowned out to imply something. And there's one bit that tries to be too clever in which when we find out who the blackmailer is, a picture on the wall suggests something about the blackmailer's motivations. But ultimately these quaint and dated bits only go to make the film more impressive and bring home how tough it must have been for everyone to make this film at that time.
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on 5 November 2006
Given the age of this film (early 1960's) it is nothing short of incredible.

It handles the subject of homosexuality in a very sensitive and yet inspiring way. I was especially impressed with the relationship between husband and wife - this could have been treated in a very negative way, but was in fact very moving.

This is a film that everyone should see at least once as it is profoundly significant - I would put it on a par with The Colour Purple - as it similarly confronts the viewer with human truths.
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on 25 June 2009
There are lots of reasons why you should watch this film (and it repays repeated viewings)but Dirk Bogarde is possibly the best of them. Here he is in a role that few actors - at the time - would have dared attempt (the fact that Bogarde was himself a homosexual, albeit one who preferred to keep his private life to himself only emphasises how much he stood to lose in a less 'liberal' social climate than the one we have today). With one stroke, he ended his increasingly uncomfortable career as a matinee idol and became the great actor he was always destined to be.

This film is criticised nowadays for its attitude to homosexuals: it treats them as sad, tortured creatures who deserve our pity - and whilst I can understand people making that objection, I think that director Basil Dearden and all involved had their hearts in the right place. You'll also see a very early (and moving) performance by Peter McEnery and a couple of excellent acting turns by Sylvia Syms and Dennis Price.

Definitely a film to watch, learn from and savour.
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on 3 May 2016
Good service and good film
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