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Sapphire (1959)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 2 November 1959 (USA)
The murder of a young woman in London exposes deep racial tensions and prejudices inherent in the area.

Director:

Basil Dearden

Writers:

Janet Green (original screenplay), Lukas Heller (additional dialogue)
Reviews

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Nigel Patrick ... Hazard
Yvonne Mitchell ... Mildred
Michael Craig ... Learoyd
Paul Massie ... David
Bernard Miles ... Mr. Harris
Olga Lindo Olga Lindo ... Mrs. Harris
Earl Cameron ... Dr. Robbins
Gordon Heath Gordon Heath ... Paul Slade
Jocelyn Britton Jocelyn Britton ... Patsy
Harry Baird ... Johnnie Fiddle
Orlando Martins ... Barman
Rupert Davies ... Ferris
Freda Bamford ... Sgt. Cook
Robert Adams Robert Adams ... Horace Big Cigar
Yvonne Buckingham Yvonne Buckingham ... Sapphire
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Storyline

In 1950s London racial hostility to Commonweath immigrants is openly paraded. A pregnant girl, initially assumed to be white, is murdered. As two detectives start to investigate, and discover her racial origins were much more mixed, public prejudices and those of the officers themselves are exposed. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The sensational story of a girl who didn't belong! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Safira See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The ripped photo used as a clue appears in two versions from the first time it's discovered. The first version shows Sapphire laughing as she dances, with her mouth open. The second shows her smiling broadly with her jaw closed. It's quite an odd, unnecessary blunder in a police procedural. See more »

Quotes

Sapphire's Landlady: You took Sapphire home to Guildford didn't you?
Patsy: Yes.
Sapphire's Landlady: Did you tell your father and mother she was coloured?
PatsySapphire's Landlady: No.
Sapphire's Landlady: Well then, don't be so quick to call *me* prejudiced.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood U.K.: A Very British Picture (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Sapphire
Music by Philip Green
Lyrics by Sonny Miller
Sung by Jimmy Lloyd (I)'
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best British race films in existence
8 October 2016 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

At first glance, SAPPHIRE seems to be your usual police procedural murder mystery thriller, with the superintendent and his supporting inspector (both played with bullish charm by Nigel Patrick and Michael Craig) investigating the discovery of a murdered girl in the local park. Indeed, their investigations initially take them down the usual alleyways as they explore the girl's social group, her relationship with a local lad, and some less-than-salubrious locations she was involved with.

However, where SAPPHIRE becomes something much, much more is in its context: race relations in Britain, circa 1959. It turns out that Sapphire herself was actually of mixed race, despite looking white. The discovery of her racial origins underpins the whole story and it's up to Patrick and Craig to unpin the build up to her brutal death. This is a shocking film, exploring the ugly face of racism in its matter-of-fact hatred of blacks and their creed. There's something grippingly realistic about it which makes it all the better film.

The supporting cast is very well picked. Nobody does shifty better than Paul Massie, the primary murder suspect. Earl Cameron is the model of race and refinement as the dead girl's brother. Yvonne Mitchell is superbly twitchy and Bernard Miles convincingly bigoted. Robert Adams supplies the one moment of true humour with his great cameo as Horace Big Cigar. As a film, SAPPHIRE is never less than thoroughly impressive, working well as a piece of social history as well as a fine detective story.


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