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 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 dates
  • 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 novel by Dorothy Cottrell entitled The Silent Reefs. It starred soon-to-be-famous actors, Richard Chamberlain and Peter Falk. A caribbean based mystery involving the disappearance of a ship called the "Cloud".


Two 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, the circumstances of their father's drowning death in the Caribbean. 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.

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

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