The Secret of the Purple Reef

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The Secret of the Purple Reef
Directed by William Witney
Produced by Gene Corman
Written by Harold "Yabo" Yablonsky
Based on novel by Dorothy Cottrell
Starring Richard Chamberlain
Peter Falk
Robert Earl Jones
Jeff Richards
Music by Buddy Bregman
Cinematography Kay Norton
Edited by Peter C. Johnson
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates 1960
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $86,000

The Secret of The Purple Reef is a 1960 - 20th Century Fox film based on a novel by Dorothy Cottrell entitled The Silent Reefs. It starred soon-to-be-famous actors, Richard Chamberlain and Peter Falk.



Filmed in color by Deluxe, the CinemaScope formatted production is a caribbean based mystery involving the disappearance of a ship called the "Cloud". Two brothers (Chamberlain and Richards) show up in a mid '50s four door Citroen Traction Avant in early era San Juan, Puerto Rico. They arrive to solve the mystery. The action begins to perk up as the two brothers run up against a gang of unruly pirates who seem to know more than they reveal. One of the film's highlights are several scenes of an E.G. Van de Stadt designed 35 foot sailing yacht, the "Starwright". The vessel adds to the Caribbean charm and plays an integral part of moving the pirates to other parts of the island.


Although considered a B film, it is notable in that The Secret of The Purple Reef introduces Richard Chamberlain and Peter Falk to moviegoers and appears as part of their early film career.


  • Cottrell, Dorothy.(1952) The Silent Reefs. Curtiss Publishing Company. New York.
  • Halliwell, Leslie. (1977) The Filmgoers Companion 6th Ed. Avon Books. New York. pp. 135, 249
  • Katz,Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia (1979) HarperCollins Publishing. New York. pp. 222,400
  • The Films of 20th Century Fox 1st Edition. (1979) Citadel Press. New Jersey. pp. 322

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