Sapphire is a well-knit pic showing how the police patiently track down a murderer. But, though obviously inspired by 1958’s outbreak of color-bar riots in London and Nottingham, it ducks the issue, refusing to face boldly up to the problem. It eventually adds up merely to another whodunit.
Victim of a savage murder in a London open space is attractive music student Sapphire (Yvonne Buckingham). The girl is revealed as having a dual personality. As well as being a student, she is also a good-time girl with a love for the bright lights. She is pregnant after an affair with a young man with a brilliant career as architect awaiting him.
Director Basil Dearden has a very effective cast. Nigel Patrick is fine as a suave, polite but ruthlessly efficient cop. Michael Craig, his assistant, is equally good as a less tolerant man who, for some unexplained reason, loathes coloured people. But perhaps the best performance of all is that of Earl Cameron as an intelligent, tolerant Negro doctor who is the brother of the slain girl. Cameron brings immense dignity to a small role.