A Patch of Blue (1965)

  • Unrated
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: 1965 (1965-12-10)
  • Running time: 105 min
  • Original Title: A Patch of Blue
  • Voted: 6692
A Patch of Blue is a movie starring Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, and Elizabeth Hartman. A blind, uneducated white girl is befriended by a black man, who becomes determined to help her escape her impoverished and abusive home...
1Sidney PoitierGordon Ralfe
2Shelley WintersRose-Ann D'Arcey
3Elizabeth HartmanSelina D'Arcey
4Wallace FordOle Pa
  • Wonderful, wonderful performances 9/13/1999 12:00:00 AM by mark-506 7

    What a surprise. It had been a long time since I saw such an honest, sensitively-made film, and it really brings to mind that old statement "They don't make 'em like they used to." How refreshing to see a film that handles potentially mawkish, TV movie-of-the-week style material (blind white girl falls in love with sighted black man) with sophistication, grace and lack of sentimentality. These are real humans that emerge out of the script, and the central performances of Sidney Poitier and the sadly forgotten Elizabeth Hartman take the tender screenplay and deliver beautiful, deeply touching performances. It is, simply put, a joy to watch them perform together.

    Credit must also be given to a young Jerry Goldsmith's sweet, delicate score, and Robert Burks' (Hitchcock's favorite DP) rich black and white cinematography. Almost impossible to find in its original widescreen format, still very worthwhile rental material.

  • Perfect! 11/14/2017 12:00:00 AM by HotToastyRag 10

    A Patch of Blue is one of my favorite classic movies. There are so many wonderful elements to the film: a tragic script, fantastic acting, family tensions, a beautiful romance, suspense, humor, social commentary, fitting music, and above all, heart. There's so much heart in this film it'll be impossible for you to remain dry-eyed. But, although it is a heavy drama, it's not so upsetting you won't want to watch it over and over. I've seen it over a dozen times and I still haven't had my fill.

    Twenty-two-year-old Elizabeth Hartman made her film debut as the lead in A Patch of Blue, and she was nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars in 1966. It was a terribly competitive year, with Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music and Julie Christie in Darling as her main competition. I'll leave it to you to pick the most deserving performance of the three, but it's a very tough decision. I would have given the gold to Elizabeth.

    Elizabeth plays a young blind girl, and to make her eyes look sufficiently damaged to the audience, she wore special contacts—but they actually interfered with her ability to see clearly! She lives with her crass and cruel mother Shelley Winters, and Shelley's alcoholic father Wallace Ford. Elizabeth is constantly verbally abused, and she believes the insults her mother flings at her, so she sees no problem with acting as the housekeeper, cook, and laundress, even though she's unappreciated. She also strings beads, which bring in a meager side income for the household, and on sunny days, Wallace Ford takes her to the park so she can enjoy the fresh air while working. One day, she meets a kind man, and a slow friendship builds.

    Sidney Poitier plays the nice man in the park. Elizabeth is extremely ignorant, and as she and Sidney become friends, he helps educate her, from correcting her grammar to helping her survive better in her blind world. If you don't fall in love with Sidney Poitier after watching A Patch of Blue, you must have lousy taste. He's so incredibly sweet and kind, but he's also reserved because he suspects if Elizabeth knew the color of his skin, she wouldn't want to associate with him anymore.

    Shelley Winters, in her own unique brashness that makes her utterly unlikable yet fascinating to watch, plays an ignorant, racist woman so convincingly, it'll be tough to believe her in any other role if you've never seen her before. You might want to try A Place in the Sun or Night of the Hunter to see her in a softer role first before this harsh character becomes etched in your mind. She won an Oscar for her performance, but Sidney Poitier wasn't even nominated. Maybe the Academy wasn't ready to honor an interracial romance; in some Southern states, some of the scenes were cut from the theatrical screenings.

    I can't stress enough how wonderful this film is. If you've ever felt alone in the world and ached for just a small gesture of kindness, you'll love it. If you're a hopeless romantic, you'll love it. If you appreciate movies with fantastic acting, or are a Sidney Poitier fan, or are looking for a new celebrity boyfriend, you'll love it. Just watch it. You'll love it.

  • Daring and very provocative a challenging movie for any generation. 7/24/2001 12:00:00 AM by chuckadams 7

    When you think of the time this movie came out and the state of America; you can't help but be amazed at the boldness of this movie. It's a classic theme; two people from different worlds. It is a time honored theme but with a modern twist of the wrong side of the tracks person is white while the upstanding citizen is black. A very daring move by the director especially considering it was 1965 and the movie is about an interracial couple. Not an easy topic for the mid 60's.

  • Almost an Excellent Film! 1/19/2009 12:00:00 AM by Syl 9

    Shelley Winters deserved an Academy Award as the hideous mother of Selina, the blind girl played beautifully by Elizabeth Hartman. Of course, Sidney Poitier plays the African American man in a time of civil rights and racism where he befriends the lonely blind girl, Selina, in the park. Of course, it can never be more than a friendship but you wish it was more than that because the two of them are like lonely creatures. Poitier's character is a scholar, educated, and well-liked in his position in the college. He assists Selina who lives with her mother in an unhappy living conditions. Her mother has chosen to give up working her blue collar job in a hotel for a job pleasing the men for more money with a friend. Of course, Selina doesn't want to move with her mother's friend. The relationship between Selina and her mother is extraordinarily played by two brilliant actresses, Winters and Hartman. I feel bad that Hartman never got the fame that she deserved.

  • A Patch of Blue brings fine performances from Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Hartman, and Shelley Winters 2/19/2011 12:00:00 AM by tavm 9

    Continuing the reviews of African-Americans in film in chronological order for Black History Month, we're now at 1965 when Sidney Poitier stars as Gordon Ralfe in this movie about his mentoring a poor blind young woman whom he meets one day when she comes to the park for the first time. Her name is Selina D'Arcey (Elizabeth Hartman) and she has had to endure an abusive relationship with her mother Rose-Ann (Shelley Winters) and an alcoholic grandfather known as Old Pa (Wallace Ford). When she comes with Gordon to his apartment, his brother Mark (Ivan Dixon) warns him about the ramifications if anyone sees them though Gordon doesn't think he's that serious about her. I'll stop there and just say this was a very touching story handled sensitively by Poitier and Ms. Hartman. And Ms. Winters deserves her Oscar for making Rose-Ann such a hard woman to like though occasionally she does provide some humorous moments too. And after previously seeing Dixon as both Joseph Asagai in Poitier's A Raisin in the Sun and Duff Anderson in Nothing But a Man, he gives another fine performance here especially when he and Poitier are discussing the pros and cons of what Ms. Hartman's presence means in their apartment. One more thing I'd like to praise is Jerry Goldsmith's score. Such beautiful music! So on that note, A Patch of Blue is highly recommended.

1Robert Burkscinematographer
2Jerry Goldsmithcomposer
3Guy Greendirector
4Rita Rolandeditor
5Pandro S. Bermanproducer
6Elizabeth Katawriter