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Dirk Bogarde

We critics are no different from the general audience in our likes and dislikes – worse if anything.

I never really liked two of the most talented female Hollywood stars Meryl Streep and Katherine Hepburn, the first for being so pleased with herself and the second lacking the warmth and geniality of her great love Spencer Tracy.

I never really liked Dirk Bogarde too finding him cold and enigmatic. Later I found the explanation for this – cast as matinee idol and heart throb he was in fact gay.

In the 50s he made the successful Doctor at movies including Doctor at Sea which featured Brigitte Bardot in an early role.

He was therefore very brave as his status as handsome youthful leading man was now assured to take the role of a homosexual in Basil Dearden’s Victim (1963) where he played blackmailed barrister Melville Farr.

His agent counseled him against this but it redefined his career leading to his superb performance in Death in Venice directed by Lucchiano Visconti.

He made further daring roles as the SS officer in The Night Porter as well as Boy Browning in A Bridge Too Far which so infuriated Browning’s wife Daphne du Maurier.

If you add to the canon John Schlesinger’s Darling with Julie Christie he left a considerable legacy but remained an distant personality living with his partner in the South of France writing and painting to a high standard.

Few actors played more diverse roles from light comedy in the 50s to more sinister roles in the 70s.

About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts