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I Passed for White (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama | 18 March 1960 (USA)
A young girl meets and marries the man of her dreams--only she hasn't told him that she is half-black, and he and his rich family and friends are white.


Fred M. Wilcox


Mary Hastings Bradley (novel), Fred M. Wilcox (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sonya Wilde Sonya Wilde ... Bernice Lee / Lila Brownell
James Franciscus ... Rick Leyton
Patricia Michon ... Sally Roberts (as Pat Michon)
Elizabeth Council ... Ann Leyton
Griffin Crafts Griffin Crafts ... Mr. Leyton
Isabel Cooley ... Bertha (as Isabelle Cooley)
Jimmy Lydon ... Jay Morgan (as James Lydon)
Thomas Browne Henry Thomas Browne Henry ... Dr. Merritt (as Thomas B. Henry)
Max Mellinger Max Mellinger ... Mr. Gordon
Phyllis Cole Phyllis Cole ... Nurse
Calvin Jackson Calvin Jackson ... Eddie - in Dance School
Lon Ballantyne Lon Ballantyne ... Chuck
Temple Hatton Temple Hatton ... Eddie - Friend of Bernice
Freita Shaw Freita Shaw ... Gram
Edmund Hashim ... Club Patron (as Ed Hashim)


A young girl meets and marries the man of her dreams--only she hasn't told him that she is half-black, and he and his rich family and friends are white.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When he took her in his arms...she had crossed the color line! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 March 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Den vita lögnen See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ann Leyton: She's not natural. She's like a cat in a strange attic.
See more »


Featured in Sleazemania on Parade (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

While it might seem a bit strange today, back in 1960 this was a controversial film.
19 September 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This film stars Sonya Wilde as a biracial lady and James Franciscus plays her boyfriend who has no idea she isn't 100% lily-white. At first, Sonya doesn't want to pose as white--but she doesn't really fit in with black folks as she appears white. After being refused jobs and being mistreated as biracial, she meets Franciscus and lands a job--and she's tired of not fitting in and just lets people think she's white. After all, in America in 1960, you'd certainly be treated like a second-class citizen if you weren't pure white--which is a stupid shame.

Once the pair marry, things are occasionally a little tough. After all, she's told so many lies about her family and Franciscus and his parents want to meet them. Her lies are a bit hard to swallow and it's not surprising that his mother starts to worry. After all, when the pair are going to LA on their honeymoon (where she told them her parents were), she tells him they can't see her family....as they've just hopped a boat for South America and don't plan on returning!! An additional problem develops when she slowly starts to see that her husband and his family are racists. Can this charade go on any longer--especially when she becomes pregnant? This is generally a very good and engaging film. Here and there are a few moments that seemed like they could have been handled better, but for a relatively low-budget film this can be forgiven. Well worth seeing and an interesting curio. However, I must add that the ending sure felt a bit anti-climactic.

It's an interesting coincidence that this film (which had been on my Netflix queue for some time) came when it did. Just a few days ago, I finished the brilliant novel "Diary of an Ex-Colored Man"--which deals with the same themes as well as discusses why a light-skinned person would want to pose as white. It's a sad story--and a perfect compliment to this film.

I am quite surprised that the lovely Wilde didn't appear in any other films--and only a few guest appearances on TV shows up until 1962. What ever happened to her? I could find nothing on IMDb or when I did a Google search. Odd...

By the way, the DVD print is very, very scratched in places. This doesn't seriously impede the film but it is surprising on a DVD. It could really use some restoration work. However, there are no captions and it would have been nice to have them.

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