Film, Thrillers
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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Hot on the heels of the Notting Hill race riots came Sapphire. Children playing ball on Hamp-stead Heath stumble across a murdered girl. A nice, respectable white girl in prim tweeds. But, horror of horrors, she's three months pregnant and wearing scarlet taffeta undies! Poor Sapphire only looks white and, as the film sagely informs us, 'No matter what the colour of the skin, you can always tell when the bongo-drums start beating'. Actually, in spite of Horace Big Cigar and a host of no-good blacks, the real murderer is a fanatical white racist. Dearden's analysis of English prejudice is comprehensive and uncompromising, but the film's 'impartiality' leads it perilously close to condoning what it sets out to condemn.

By: RMy

Release details

Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Basil Dearden
Screenwriter: Janet Green
Cast: Nigel Patrick
Michael Craig
Paul Massie
Yvonne Mitchell
Bernard Miles
Earl Cameron
Gordon Heath
Orlando Martins

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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James Manning

A bit flawed as a film – dodgy politics and portrayals, stereotyped coppers and criminals and slightly baggy plotting for what could've been a taut thriller – but it's an amazing and rare look at pre-swinging London in colour: the fog and the dirt and the cramped, wood-panelled rooms. You can practically smell the fag smoke in the police station scenes.