The Secret of the Purple Reef

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Secret of the Purple Reef
Directed by William Witney
Produced by Gene Corman
Written by Harold "Yabo" Yablonsky
Based on "The Silent Reefs",
1952-53 short story,
The Saturday Evening Post
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 date
  • December 11, 1960 (1960-12-11)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $86,000

The Secret of The Purple Reef is a 1960 20th Century Fox CinemaScope DeLuxe Color film based on a short story by Dorothy Cottrell entitled "The Silent Reefs". It starred soon-to-be-famous actors Richard Chamberlain and Peter Falk. It is a Caribbean based mystery involving the disappearance of a ship called the Cloud.

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

It was Richard Chamberlain's film debut, made before finding fame as Dr Kildare. In 1986 Chamberlain called it "easily the worst movie ever made, or at least the most boring".[1]


Brothers Dean (Richard Chamberlain) and Mark Christopher (Jeff 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 of the circumstances of their father's drowning death in the Caribbean. They run up against a gang of unruly pirates who seem to know more than they reveal. One of the film's highlights is 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.



The story was published in 1953.[2]

Robert L. Lippert brought Peter Falk to Hollywood to appear in Murder Inc. Lippert liked him so much he used him on this film, which was shot in Puerto Rico.[3] Filming took place in July 1960.[4][5]

Margia Dean enjoyed working with direction Witney and later hired him when she produced The Long Rope (1961).[6]

See also[edit]


  • 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.
  1. ^
  2. ^ Hass, V. P. (1953, Mar 29). A sea mystery of merit; suspense, villainy, heroism. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  3. ^ FILMLAND EVENTS. (1960, Jul 11). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (1960, Jul 12). Taboo in tel-aviv broken by dietrich. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. ^ Weaver, Tom (2006). Interviews with B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers: Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors, Moguls and Makeup. McFarland. p. 98. 
  6. ^

External links[edit]