Sapphire (film)


UK release poster
Directed by Basil Dearden
Produced by Michael Relph
Earl St. John (executive producer)
Written by Janet Green
Starring Nigel Patrick
Yvonne Mitchell
Michael Craig
Paul Massie
Earl Cameron
Bernard Miles
Music by Philip Green
Cinematography Harry Waxman
Edited by John D. Guthridge
Release dates
  • 21 April 1959 (1959-04-21) (United Kingdom)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Sapphire is a 1959 British crime drama. It focused on racism in London toward immigrants from the West Indies. The film was directed by Basil Dearden, and stars Nigel Patrick, Earl Cameron and Yvonne Mitchell. It received the BAFTA Award for Best Film and screenwriter Janet Green won a 1960 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Foreign Film Screenplay.[1] It was a progressive movie for its time.[2]

Earl Cameron who played the part of Dr Robbins, Sapphire's brother,[3] would appear two years later in another English film dealing with racial issues, the 1961 film Flame in the Streets.[4]

Dearden and Green later also collaborated on another "social problem" film, Victim, although this one was focused on blackmail of gay men before the passage of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 provided limited decriminalisation of male homosexuality.


The film is about a pregnant girl found stabbed on Hampstead Heath. Although she appears to be white, her brother (Earl Cameron) arrives at the police station to give evidence and he is black. It becomes evident to the police officers the girl has been passing for white.[5] This film reveals the underlying insecurities and fears of ordinary people that exist towards another race.[3]


Paperback Novelization

In April 1959, Panther Books of London issued a screenplay novelization by prolific mystery and thriller novelist E.G. Cousins.


  1. Awards for Sapphire at the Internet Movie Database
  3. 1 2 screenonline Sapphire (1959)
  4. Flame in the Streets
  5. Features, Sapphire (1959) by David Cairns
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