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Sapphire [DVD]

21 customer reviews

Price: £7.62 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
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£7.62 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Actors: Nigel Patrick, Michael Craig
  • Directors: Basil Dearden
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Strawberry Media
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Sept. 2011
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DRC1HU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,845 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

First individual DVD release! Basil Dearden's ground-breaking tale starring Nigel Patrick and Michael Craig portraying two Scotland Yard detectives who are investigating the murder of a young black woman who had been passing for white. As timely a topic today as when made in an England rampant with racial prejudice in the 1950s, it stays just this side of an in-depth indictment of racism and bigotry as the detectives investigate the vast array of suspects - everyone from the girl's white boyfriend and his parents who feared that the association would destroy his career to the boys that the girl had spurned when she was accepted by white society. Winner of BAFTA for Best British Film 1960

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By William Taylor on 4 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Sapphire has been at the top of my "wanted on dvd" list for a long time!

If you've never seen it, you are in for a real treat - a beautiful snapshot, in colour, of late 1950's North London, where most of the location filming took place around the Kentish Town area. It's a very involved, exciting thriller and the portrait of the racism then very prevalent is a reminder of how far society has thankfully progressed since then. The twists and turns in the plot are many and the revelation of the murderer, when it comes, is quite unexpected and shocking.

The entire cast is excellent but special mention must be made of Paul Massie, an underrated actor in his day and now sadly forgotten, the superb Yvonne Mitchell as his sister, and Olga Lindo and Bernard Miles as their parents. Black actor Earl Cameron as the murdered girl's brother is also very good. The jazz score, played by Johnny Dankworth, adds greatly to the atmosphere of the film.

The view of 1950's London is very fascinating, and if like me you become intrigued as to the exact location of the family home, I can assure you it's still there looking exactly as it does in the movie. It's a street off Fortess Road in Kentish Town, which I tracked down several years ago just by walking around the area hoping to stumble on it!!

As you can probably tell, this movie is a favourite of mine - I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By UK Filmbuff TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 31 May 2011
Format: VHS Tape
If you can get hold of a good copy of this excellent film, don't delay; it is a masterpiece, years ahead of its time and extremely thought provoking.

In 1950s/60s Britain, racism is rife, even in the police forces to a degree. Boarding houses are allowed to discriminate against black people and they do, because they fear that to accept them, will incur the wrath of the white population.

The body of a young woman is found on Hampstead Heath; she was murdered somewhere else and her body dumped there. The police, at first, are "baffled", although their investigations commence and they find a number of interesting clues. The girl (Sapphire Robbins) is black, although she passes as a white woman. This is not uncommon, in a city where racism is rife. She was also pregnant and her boyfriend (David Harris) is white.

Nigel Patrick and Michael Craig play the two highly efficient police officers, with Nigel (Superintendent Robert Hazard) playing the part of the more enlightened police officer and Michael (Inspector Phil Learoyd) his slightly more sceptical and somewhat racist colleague. The pair compliment each other well in the film.

The investigation continues in earnest and focuses upon David Harris and his family. The tension builds and one is constantly drawn to believing he may be the murderer, especially since his behaviour and attitude are somewhat suspicous. The conclusion has to be seen; it certainly isn't what I expected.

An excellent film, well written and acted; very atmospheric scenes.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Julie Vognar on 27 Jun. 2009
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
If not, don't watch this police procedural in which a half-black woman, fair-skinned and Caucasian featured, passing for white, gets herself murdered just before the film starts.

Basil Dearden and Michael Relph (director and producer) and Janet Green (screenwriter) don't just dip their toes into the hot-button issues of their day, they dive into the murky swimming pool and root around on the bottom, looking for the drain. But of course, as Sapphire's brother, a doctor, says in his last exchange with the Police Superintendent at the end:

Superintendent: We have't given you much to take home with you, have we?
Doctor: No. In my practice, I see many sicknesses, and few of them can be cured in a day.

Sapphire's brother's skin is the same color as Jackie Robinson's (not quite as dark as Paul Robeson's). This is not a common phenomenon--full siblings, with one (apparently) black and one (apparently) white parent, to have the appearance of belonging completely to different races--but it can happen--and of course the first time we, and the police, see the brother, we are all shocked, visually, if in no other way).

The (bright bulb) Superintendent has already told his (dimmer bulbed) Lieutenant that this does not appear to be a robbery gone wrong, or a panic killing, because "She wasn't just stabbed once; she was stabbed seven times, in and around the heart--this looks like a hate crime."

All kinds of prejudice, from both races principally involved, rear their heads, from the most blatant to the subtlest. In the latter category:

Superintendent and Lieutenant, seeking old friends of the victim, have been directed to the International Club, where Sapphire used to go to dance before she began passing for white.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 May 2012
Format: DVD
When Sapphire Robbins, a beautiful young white woman, is murdered on Hamstead Heath, Detective Superintendent Robert Hazard gets the case. Sapphire, it turns out, was pregnant. The young man who was the father, the police quickly learn, had promised to marry her. He's an architecture student with a bright future, who has just been awarded a scholarship to study abroad. His working class dad and mum and his older sister are extremely proud of him.

Then Sapphire's older brother appears from the north to talk with the police. Soon DS Hazard (Nigel Patrick) is up to his ears in not just a mystery, but in one of Britain's early (1959) social conscience movies. Dr. Robbins (Earl Cameron) is a black man, as black as Sapphire was pink. "Our father was a doctor, white," he says to Inspector Hazard. "Our mother was a singer, as black as I am. You never know which way it's going to go."

Director Basil Deardon takes us on a journey into London's tidy homes and tawdry slum flats, into shops with helpful pink clerks and basement jazz clubs with brown musicians and customers. We're there with Hazard and Phil Learoyd, his detective inspector (Michael Craig), as they question Sapphire's girl friends, boy friends and her landlady. Some are black, some are white. We get know the kind of people David Harris (Paul Massie), the man who got Sapphire pregnant and who fell in love with her, and his parents and sister are.

What kind of woman was Sapphire? DS Superintendent Hazard learns that she was fun to be with, an opportunist, a good friend, a false friend, something of a chatterbox, unscrupulous, a talented student at the Royal Academy of Arts, a user. Good things are said by some whites and some blacks. Bad things are said by some whites and some blacks.
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