Oscar Movies: Patch of Blue (1965)–Interracial Melodrama Starring Elizabeth Hartman and Sidney Poitier

Shelley Winters won her second Supporting Actress Oscar for this pioneering interracial melodrama, which was ahead of its time, though by today’s standards preachy.

The young actress Elizabeth Hartman made a splashing debut as Selina, the blind and sensitive daughter of the vulgar and insensitive Rose-Ann dÁrcy (Shelley Winters).

A nasty prostitute, Rose-Ann treats both Selina and grandfather Ole Pa (Wallace Ford) like dirt.

Fortunately, Selina finds a way out via the kindly man Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier), who she meets in the park unaware that he is black. Despite the objections of the bigoted Rose-Ann and of Gordon’s brother Mark (Ivan Dixon), when they find out, a strong bond evolves between the two unlikely friends.

Patch of Blue was adapted to the screen by Guy Green, from Elizabeth Kata’s novel, Be Ready with Bells and Drums.

The acting of the entire cast, especially Hartman and Poitier, is good, compensate for the film’s shortcomings.

Oscar Nominations: 5

Actress: Elizabeth Hartman

Supporting Actress: Shelley Winters

Cinematography (b/w): Robert Burks

Art Direction-Set Decoration (b/w): George W. Davis and Urie McLearie; Henry Grace and Charles S. Thompson

Music Score: Jerry Goldsmith

Oscar Awards: 1

Supporting Actress

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Actress Oscar was Julie Christie for Darling.

Ernest Laszlo won the Cinematography Oscar for Ship of Fools, which also won for Art Direction.

The Scoring Oscar went to Maurice Jarre for Doctor Zhivago.

Running time: 108 minutes.

Directed and scripted by Guy Green

DVD: February 4, 2003

MGM Home Entertainment