26 July 2017
Before the rainbow: a groundbreaking work re-released
Film-maker Terence Davies once told me how as a teenager – Catholic, in the closet, terrified – he saw Victim one night at a packed Liverpool cinema. About 20 minutes into the story a police detective lets slip the word “homosexual”. As Davies recalled of the audience, “you could have heard a pin drop”.
This was 1961, six years before the practice of homosexuality was decriminalised. The personal impact of the film upon him, and countless others, was immeasurable. Seen today its boldness feels mildly diluted with condescension, but as a thriller and a portrait of self-sacrifice it holds up powerfully.
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