IMDb > Sapphire (1959)
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Sapphire (1959) More at IMDbPro »


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7.2/10   493 votes »
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Janet Green (writer)
Lukas Heller (additional dialogue)
View company contact information for Sapphire on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 November 1959 (USA) See more »
The sensational story of a girl who didn't belong. See more »
In 1950s London racial hostility to Commonweath immigrants is openly paraded. A pregnant girl, initially assumed to be white... See more » | Add synopsis »
Won BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations See more »
(16 articles)
A Destitute Waif
 (From MUBI. 30 June 2014, 6:32 AM, PDT)

Greatest Slasher Films (1970 – 1990)
 (From SoundOnSight. 28 October 2012, 8:00 PM, PDT)

Stop or we'll shoot: British cinema's portrayal of the police
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 11 August 2011, 4:05 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Deeply shocking crime investigation thriller exposing race hatreds See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order)
Nigel Patrick ... Superintendent Robert Hazard
Michael Craig ... Inspector Phil Learoyd
Yvonne Mitchell ... Mildred
Paul Massie ... David Harris

Bernard Miles ... Ted Harris
Olga Lindo ... Mrs. Harris

Earl Cameron ... Dr. Robbins
Gordon Heath ... Paul Slade
Jocelyn Britton ... Patsy
Harry Baird ... Johnnie Fiddle
Orlando Martins ... Barman
Rupert Davies ... Jack Ferris
Yvonne Buckingham ... Sapphire Robbins
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Adams ... Horace Big Cigar
Freda Bamford ... Sgt. Cook
Philip Lowrie ... Student
Anthony Singleton
Basil Dignam ... Doctor Burgess (uncredited)
Fenella Fielding ... Lingerie Shop Manageress (uncredited)
Boscoe Holder ... Dancer in Nightclub (uncredited)

Desmond Llewelyn ... Police Constable (uncredited)
Bartlett Mullins ... Newsagent (uncredited)
Lloyd Reckord ... (uncredited)

John Richardson ... Student (uncredited)

Barbara Steele ... Student (uncredited)
Susan Stranks ... Student (uncredited)

Peter Vaughan ... Detective Whitehead (uncredited)

Directed by
Basil Dearden 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Janet Green  writer
Lukas Heller  additional dialogue

Produced by
Michael Relph .... producer
Earl St. John .... executive producer
Original Music by
Philip Green 
Cinematography by
Harry Waxman 
Film Editing by
John D. Guthridge 
Art Direction by
Carmen Dillon 
Costume Design by
Julie Harris 
Makeup Department
W.T. Partleton .... makeup artist
Production Management
Douglas Peirce .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David W. Orton .... assistant director (as David Orton)
Sound Department
Bill Daniels .... sound recordist
Dudley Messenger .... sound recordist
Arthur Ridout .... sound editor
Harry Fairbairn .... sound assistant (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
H.A.R. Thomson .... camera operator
Music Department
John Dankworth .... musician: saxophone (as Johnny Dankworth)
The Johnny Dankworth Orchestra .... music played by
Other crew
Arthur Alcott .... production controller: Pinewood Studios
Tilly Day .... continuity
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min | Spain:89 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Australia:PG | Australia:X (original rating) | Finland:K-16 | Norway:16 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating)

Did You Know?

Dirk Bogarde was asked to play Learoyd.See more »
Dr. Robbins:There's no assurance for me and my kind, Superintendent. I've been black for 38 years, I know. She may have looked white, but Sapphire was colored.
Superintendent Robert Hazard:Your sister was murdered. We'll find out who killed her.
Dr. Robbins:I'm sure that is your intention.
Superintendent Robert Hazard:It is my intention. It's also my job.
See more »
Movie Connections:
SapphireSee more »


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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Deeply shocking crime investigation thriller exposing race hatreds, 25 November 2007
Author: robert-temple-1 from United Kingdom

This is one of the most shocking films ever made about the true depths of colour prejudice in Britain in the 1950s, and the violent hatreds of black people harboured at that time by the white British working classes, especially in London. The film is well-scripted, and boldly directed by Basil Dearden, and it shows without flinching the true state of feeling as it was in those days (with some strong anti-white prejudice by blacks thrown in, to demonstrate that things are never only one way). What is so utterly horrifying about watching all of this now is, that it really was all true then. It is inevitable that some of the characters both white and black should resemble stereotypes, perhaps for the reason that at that time, people genuinely were stereotypes. The story concerns a police investigation of a murder of a young girl who was a student at the Royal Academy of Music (half way through the film a policeman calls it the Royal College of Music; Londoners are always confusing the two separate institutions in that way, so perhaps this script flaw merely reflects real life). Her body is found on Hampstead Heath in London, and there are no clues apart from the initial 'S' (her name is eventually discovered to be Sapphire). As a crime investigation thriller, the film is solid and extremely well done. A spectacular cameo performance is given by the black actor Robert Adams as 'Horace Big Cigar', not long before he died. The acting is all reliable and convincing. Dearden is especially good at not allowing any of the women and children to scream when discovering a body or having a horrible experience: his technique was extremely subtle, and they instead stifle screams, a scream begins to form, and then they put their own hands over their mouths in horror. When identifying a corpse, the actor behaves as one would naturally do, with numb paralysed shock, remaining silent and staring. All the ridiculous Hollywood histrionics and stock reactions of approved hysteria and screaming females are eliminated from this very British film, in which there is no place for hysteria except with one black character who panics for story reasons. Sociologists should really see this film. However, it is so incendiary that I cannot see it ever being released again or even being shown on television, at least not in Britain. In fact, some of the comments in the film may even have become 'illegal' under the harsh new race relations laws, even in a fictional context! Anyone who thinks race problems have gone away does not know human nature. Sensitivity to small differences, such as skin colour, is so firmly rooted in animal behaviour (the isolation by the herd of the black sheep, the driving away of albino animals from the pack), that race hatreds are inescapable, and can only be suppressed, never eradicated. Seeing this film reminds one of this depressing aspect of life by a blatant portrayal of it which is almost too painful to watch.

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