“It used to be witches; at least they don’t burn you.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
He spends much of the rest of his review citing a critic from Films in Review when the film was released, who complained that “the biological, social and psychological evils resulting from homosexuality are never mentioned” and “the false contention that homosexuality is congenital is stressed throughout” (!!); Peary notes that this “gives us some idea how far ahead of its time this picture was,” and tells about watching the cut version for years on TV, “in which, remarkably, homosexual references are excised” — meaning that “for years [he] had no idea what this picture was about.”
Peary doesn’t specifically highlight Bogarde’s performance in his review, but he should; Bogarde (semi-closeted in real life) is note perfect in a role that he was apparently eager to play. What’s most refreshing about the storyline is that Bogarde’s character doesn’t shy away from facing the truth of his sexuality: we learn that he was upfront with his wife before they got married, and after he finds out about McEnery’s tragic end, he vows to investigate and seek justice, despite the risk this poses to both his career and his marriage. Knowing that homosexuality was illegal in Britain until 1967 under the Sexual Offenses Act, one is grateful to this film for showing just a glimpse of what life was like for many during that time.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: