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

Photos

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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 ... 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:

"Lily-Skin" They called her...the girl who stormed across the line leaving a trail of red, red blood! 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

Dirk Bogarde was asked to play Learoyd. See more »

Goofs

The tracks left behind by the vehicle used to transport Sapphire's body to Hampstead Heath are measured by the police as being 4 feet 6 inches (the same as Mr Harris' Ford van) . Yet the track width of the pram which later proves to have been used by the murderess to take it there is considerably less than that. See more »

Quotes

Sapphire's Landlady: You've got the wrong address. I take only white students.
See more »

Connections

Featured in London: The Modern Babylon (2012) 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

 
Unflinching and ahead of its time...Dearden does it again.
30 June 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Basil Dearden directed some dandy films--and a set of them are available through Criterion and frankly, all are quite impressive. With films like "Victim", "The League of Gentlemen" and "Sapphire", it's one of the best collections I've seen from this company.

The film begins with the discovery of a dead woman in the park. However, this turns out to be anything but a routine case when the police investigate. First, it turns out the lady was pregnant. Second, it turns out that although she appeared quite Caucasian, she was black and posing as a white woman. While this sort of plot might seem pretty routine today, back in 1959 it was absolutely daring--and the sort of picture Hollywood NEVER would have done. I not only appreciate the daring subject matter, but also the amazingly unflinching way it approached racism. In fact, I am not even sure that they could make a movie like this today--given the bluntness of the language--but that is what makes this movie great. Racism IS horrible and the language they use make it seem horrible.

The bottom line is that the film is amazingly good. The film is free of clichés and is very well written. I also appreciate the wonderful job Nigel Patrick did in playing the chief inspector--one of the only seemingly sane people in the film! Well worth seeing and amazingly brave. It's not surprising then that the film won the BAFTA (sort of like the British version of the Oscar) for Best Picture.


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