A pregnant college student named Sapphire Robbins is murdered in London’s Hampstead Heath. When police superintendent Robert Hazard discovers that the victim was a light-skinned black woman passing as white, it upends his initial assumptions.
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Interesting to see how late 50s "liberal" views on racialism didn't go so far as to preclude a character called Henry Big Cigar, hand-waving black dancing in a really groovy nightclub and mixed-race lilly-skins being unable to resist the beat of the bongos. Extraordinary. BONGO BONGO THEY DO IT IN THE CONGO.
Very interesting police procedural film that allows us to visit the London (thank you Pinewood!) of the late 50's. Not the best neighborhoods but the more cinematographical ones: Jazz-clubs, seedy boarding houses or gloomy backyards. Basil Dearden also handles the theme of everyday racism and cleverly reminds us that there are a lot of shades between black and white. Highly recommended.
More sugar-pilled drama from Dearden & Relph. If the racial themes don't quite appear as window dressing to an otheriwse routine police drama, they could have been injected with a little more bite and snap. Nevertheless a suitably grungy view of post-war London.
Not quite 4 stars, but why not? You can go on and on commending it for it's open-mindedness in 1959, and at the same time faulting it -- so withering, frankly. Once you get past the issue of racism (and sexism!), you don't get much more than a run-of-the-mill procedural...but that makes sense, if you want to concentrate on the complexity of social issues, rather than of plot -- smart.
Un apasionante filme policial que halla sus bondades en su juego detectivesco en donde una larga lista de sospechosos van desfilando. Si bien "Sapphire" termina con un culpable al descubierto, de hecho Dearden parece apuntar a un culpable más general. Su película apunta a un carácter social y coyuntural sobre el racismo, algo que no necesariamente llega del "color mayoritario". La víctima como incitador de prejuicios