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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.


Basil Dearden


Janet Green (original screenplay), Lukas Heller (additional dialogue)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




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


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


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


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The detectives are driven around in a 1957 Wolsely 6/90 Series III. This same car can be seen in Again the Ringer (1965), Murder Most Foul (1964), Danger Man: The Sanctuary (1960), and The Devil's Daffodil (1961). See more »


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 »


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 »


Featured in London: The Modern Babylon (2012) See more »


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

User Reviews

Bold For Its Time
12 March 2007 | by robertconnorSee all my reviews

When a young woman's body is discovered on London's Hampstead Heath, the ensuing investigation quickly focuses on racial bigotry and hatred in 1950s Britain, exposing the prejudice amongst those under investigation AND those investigating.

Like so many other films from the 1940s and 1950s, Sapphire is yet another piece of groundbreaking British cinema now long forgotten. A little clunky and overly reliant on stereotyping by today's standards, but still a fascinating exploration of the fears and struggles inherent in a newly mixed-race society. Dearden has brought together an interesting cast here, cleverly giving matinée idol Craig a fairly unsympathetic role as a racist police officer, and being superbly served by Mitchell - her final scene is at once both compelling and distressing. Too many British cinema actors of the 40's and 50's have now been forgotten, and Mitchell is a prime example of why individual and collective reappraisals and retrospectives are long overdue.

Interesting companion piece to 1961's Flame In The Streets, then, and definitely worth catching if you can.

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Release Date:

2 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sapphire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Artna Films Ltd. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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