A Patch of Blue

1965, Black and White
Starring Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes.

This film is one of my all time favourites, and I weep like a little
schoolgirl every single time I see it. Sometimes you can catch it on
American Movie Classics or Turner Classic Movies, and you'll be glad you

Set in some anonymous town at a time when black/white relations in
America were coming to a violent head, this is a story about a white
girl falling in love with a black man--something that seemed impossible
at that time.

The girl is Selina D'Arcey (Elizabeth Hartman). She's 18 years old but
is extremely innocent and immature. She's blind and is virtually
imprisoned by her horrific mother (Shelley Winters) and her drunken
grandfather in a one-room tenement apartment. There's no love for
Selina, there is definitely no sympathy for her handicap, and she's
never even been to school.

Like a Cinderella, Selina is forced to stay home and do chores all day
and take care of her family, but on rare occasions she's allowed to go
to the park alone and sit with the sun warming her face as she makes
beaded necklaces to sell and make extra money for her mother. It is on
such a visit to the park that she meets the person who opens a door to a
whole new world for her, Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier).

He befriends her and over time is stunned by her situation as he learns
more about her. Gordon treats her with kindness and respect, something
she's never known, and she soon falls in love with him. "Black" and
"white" don't mean anything to a blind girl, especially a blind girl who
knows almost nothing of the world. But Gordon realizes he must be
cautious, he's much older than she is and he thinks of her as a poor
sweet girl in need of help, not as a potential lover.

Watching this you know it's only a matter of time before her awful,
racist mother finds out about their friendship and tries to stop it.
It's up to Gordon to act fast to save Selina from a horrendous new
lifestyle her mother is about to start, and it's up to Selina to
understand that love comes in many different forms.

Again, another tear jerker. Have the hankies at the ready, watch it
alone if you can, and without interruptions if at all possible.

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