An extraordinary performance by Dirk Bogarde grounds this intense, sobering indictment of early-sixties social intolerance and sexual puritanism. Bogarde plays Melville Farr, a married barrister who is one of a large group of closeted London men who become targets of a blackmailer. Basil Dearden’s unmistakably political taboo buster was one of the first films to address homophobia head-on, a cry of protest against British laws forbidding homosexuality. –The Criterion Collection
Basil Dearden (born Basil Clive Dear; 1 January 1911 – 23 March 1971) was an English film director.
Dearden was born at Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. He graduated from theatre direction to film, working as an assistant to Basil Dean. He later changed his own name to Dearden to avoid confusion with his mentor.
He first began working as a director at Ealing Studios, co-directing comedy films with Will Hay, including The Goose Steps Out (1942) and My Learned Friend (1943). He worked on the influential chiller compendium Dead of Night (1945) and directed the linking narrative and the “Hearse Driver” segment. He also directed The Captive Heart starring Michael Redgrave, a 1946 British war drama, produced by Ealing Studios. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. The Blue Lamp (1950), probably the most frequently shown of Dearden’s Ealing films, is a police drama which first introduced audiences to PC George Dixon, later resurrected for the long-running Dixon of… read more
Basil Dearden magnificently handles a sensitive theme (like racism in Sapphire) while delivering an above average crime story. Alternating realist sequences on location and tense dialog scenes, the director manages to present the perfect mainstream movie with a social concern. It's Capraesque, it's a masterpiece.
Very good genre film with a twist. Dirk Bogarde had guts to take this role. Grade: B+.