A biopic about a journalist’s affair with a handsome serviceman is to open this year’s BFI Flare LGBT Film Festival.
Based on Peter Wildeblood’s bestseller it tells the story of his affair with a handsome serviceman he met in Piccadilly and the devastating consequences of their relationship.
Wildeblood, played by Daniel Mays, was a well-connected journalist on the Daily Express, and the film charts his journey from Fleet Street to public vilification and imprisonment at a time when homosexual acts between two men were against the law.
Mark Gattis gives a chilling performance as a prison doctor who believes that by administering therapeutic methods to gay men they could be “changed”.
The importance of the Wildeblood case brought the debate about homosexuality into the public domain and led to the Wolfenden Report and eventually the 1967 Sexual Offences Act which partially decriminalised homosexual acts.
Director Fergus O’Brien said:
“Making this film for the BBC not only allowed us to tell a powerful and important story in the evolution of LGBT rights in this country but also to capture for posterity the voices of some of the men who lived through these dark days in gay history. Their story, and the story of Peter Wildeblood, are timely reminders of the difficult journey it took to arrive at the rights enjoyed by gay people today and why it’s so important that we safeguard them. I’m delighted and honoured that the film will be the Opening Night of BFI Flare.”
The full programme for this year’s BFI Flare Film Festival will be announced on 15 February.
Against the Law will be shown on the BBC later this year.