Great British Movies: Crime
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Collection of four British crime thrillers from the 1950s and '60s. In 'Sapphire' (1959) the eponymous character (Yvonne Buckingham), a fair-skinned West Indian immigrant, is discovered murdered. To the police, led by Superintendent Hazard (Nigel Patrick) and Inspector Learoyd (Michael Craig), the case seems clear cut - Sapphire must have been killed by a member of the black community. However, when Sapphire's brother (Earl Cameron) turns up at the police station and her true ethnic roots become known, Hazard and Learoyd must face up to the racism of two communities and, quite possibly, their own. In 'Checkpoint' (1956) O'Donovan (Stanley Baker) is hired by the owner of a racing team, Warren Ingram (James Robertson Justice), to steal the car design plans of a rival team ahead of an important race. O'Donovan duly breaks into their factory and manages to obtain the plans - at the cost of setting off an alarm that leads to a fatal shoot-out. As Ingram sets out to cover up his role in events - perhaps even at the expense of O'Donovan's life - the thief himself prepares to enter the race. In 'The Informers' (1963) Scotland Yard's Inspector Johnnoe (Patrick) has built up his reputation using a network of contacts, but is ordered to sever his links with informers in the wake of new police methods. However, when Johnnoe's best informant, Jim Ruskin (John Cowley), is murdered, he sets out to track down the gang responsible. 'Turn the Key Softly' (1953) follows a trio of women from different backgrounds who are released from prison on the same day. Monica (Yvonne Mitchell) ended up in prison after taking the fall for a crime masterminded by her lover, David (Terence Morgan), while Stella Jarvis (Joan Collins) was sent to jail for prostitution and Mrs Quilliam (Kathleen Harrison) was put away for shoplifting. The three women agree to meet for dinner to discuss their first day of freedom - if they can survive its temptations and avoid heading straight back to jail, of course.
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