HTF REVIEW: "A Patch Of Blue" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    A Patch Of Blue

    Studio: Warner Bros. (MGM title)
    Year: 1965
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 105 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English, French and Spanish

    I am so very pleased with the new crop of classic
    titles coming out of the Warner Bros. vault. Over
    the past week alone my eyes have been opened to
    great classic films like Mildred Pierce and
    Alice Adams. Amongst those titles sent to
    me for review was A Patch Of Blue, a film
    I had never previously heard about. As is always
    the case, I asked our resident classic film "guru"
    Robert Crawford what he knew about the film. I'll
    close this review with his response as I think it
    is most fitting to do so there. In the meantime,
    I'll just say that this film came highly recommended
    to me, and I am about to pass that recommendation
    on to you.


    Let me first begin this review by talking a little
    about Sidney Poitier. He is an actor that I am
    continually in awe of. Though he was not the first
    black actor to appear in film or be nominated for
    an Academy award, he was the first to break the color
    barrier and win widespread acceptance in film by all
    races. I admire the fact that he devoted most of
    his career bringing controversial racial issues to
    light. He portrayed characters unlike anything
    Americans had seen before and his bittersweet roles
    gave a sort of awakening to a mostly white industry
    where he was readily accepted. Sidney Poitier easily
    ranks amongst the most "legendary actors" of our time.


    When considering Poitier's best film performances,
    A Patch of Blue must rank somewhere at the
    top of the list. It is arguably the finest
    performance from this actor. It's a simple story
    of Selina D'Arcy (Elizabeth Hartman), a blind,
    abused, uneducated girl who falls unexpectedly
    in love with a stranger named Gordon Ralfe
    (Sidney Poitier), a compassionate black man who
    befriends the girl and shows her the real world
    outside of the one that her abusive and bigoted
    guardians (Shelley Winters and Wallace Ford) have
    shut her into.


    Though the film won Shelley Winters her second
    Oscar, the real stars of this film are Poitier
    and Hartman. Their immensely radiating on-screen
    chemistry effectively tells the story of an
    interracial relationship between a young black
    man and white blind woman, and the difficulty
    they have sharing their souls knowing they could
    never co-exist together in a racially motivated

    How is the transfer?

    For the most part this film looks very good.
    I would to leave it at just that, for I know how
    bad the state of original film elements are at
    the moment. Unfortunately, because people read
    these reviews to find every intricate detail of
    all that may be wrong with a particular transfer,
    I am now going to have to nit pick.

    To repeat myself, image quality is very good.
    Images are well detailed and besides an opening
    interior scene that seems a little dark, contrast
    and brightness are fine. The only problem I saw
    was the amount of white film speckle scattered
    throughout the film, most predominantly seen about
    8 minutes into the movie during the film's first
    park scene. There's also small amounts of
    background noise that show up in a number of scenes
    making whites look somewhat dirty. Other than that,
    this is a very pleasing transfer.

    The mono Dolby Digital soundtrack is very clear
    and detailed, giving a nice presence to Jerry
    Goldsmith's light and cheerful piano score.

    Special Features


    A full-length commentary by writer and
    Director Guy Green begins with a rather interesting
    story of how his wife obtained the Elizabeth Katas
    novel while trying to shelter herself from the
    rain. After all, it was that story that inspired
    the director to purchase the film rights and make
    this film. Working with Shelley Winters was quite
    an experience for Green. She never really understood
    neither the dialogue or the part, but she was
    gracious enough to trust the director to lead the
    way. This is quite interesting to hear when you
    realize Winters received a Best Supporting Oscar
    for the role. Elzabeth Hartman took it upon
    herself to study the blind, learning as much as
    as she could to authenticate her role. Opaque
    colored contacts were used to make her look the
    part, and we learn that they really did make her
    go slightly blind. Sidney Poitier was not completely
    happy with the first draft of the script, and his
    influenced helped change the film's ending. You'll
    find out how as you listen here. Green talks fondly
    about Hartman who really carried this film despite
    the fact that she was so awfully shy. He also
    ponders how her success and publicity might have
    led to her taking her life a few years later. There
    is a sort of calmness one feels while listening
    to Green's elderly raspy voice talk about his
    experiences making this film, his techniques, and
    some of the stories that went on behind-the-scenes
    with the cast.

    Sidney Poitier - The Legacy Essay is an
    interesting read for anyone unfamiliar with the
    actor's body of work. This essay takes us through
    his early films of the 50s and 60s that gave him
    status as America's most popular and powerful
    symbol of the Civil Rights Movement to his
    more acclaimed roles of the mid and late 60s
    and on through the 70s and 80s where he turned
    to directing popular comedies.

    A Stills Gallery runs on auto pilot here
    so be careful how you advance through it. There
    are many candid behind-the-scenes shots that include
    rehearsals, production stills, critic reviews, Oscar
    nomination announcements and poster artwork. Really
    cool historical stuff here!

    In addition to the film's original theatrical
    , we find a page dedicated to the
    Awards the film received as well as a Cast
    and Crew
    that gives you absolutely no access
    to individual filmographies.

    Final Thoughts


    I don't expect most everyone to go out and buy
    A Patch Of Blue, though I think anyone who
    wishes to supplement their collection with the
    finest classic film has to offer, should do so.
    There are many ways to sum up how powerful, warm
    and touching this film is, but perhaps I should
    just let Robert Crawford's words speak for themselves...

    "A Patch of Blue" is one of the best films made
    in the 1960's. It's a film about people, relationships,
    and tolerance of others. A powerful film when it
    came out, but is underrated today.

    I don't think I could have said it any better.

    Release Date: February 4, 2003

    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. Jeff_A

    Jeff_A Screenwriter

    Mar 6, 2001
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  3. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

    Jan 5, 2000
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    This is great news to hear! I must confess the A PATCH OF BLUE is probably my favorite of all Sidney Poitier films. I haven't seen the DVD yet but i can tell you that this film is definitely highly recommended!
  4. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

    Apr 23, 2002
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    This is a film that leaves a definite impression. Even today, it is a pretty intense study of family dysfunction and the beauty of friendship. Shelley Winters is not to be believed in this about "love to hate" her. I agree, it is underrated, practically forgotten. I will be sure to pick this up.
  5. TomF

    TomF Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 31, 2001
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    I saw A Patch of Blue on television as a child and never forgot it. Shelley Winters was incredible. Glad to hear the studio saw fit to release this one despite it being under-rated. Another great Poitier classic I don't hear much about is Raisin in the Sun. It has been available on DVD for some time and is worth a watch.
  6. Sean Dayton

    Sean Dayton Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 26, 2001
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    I also only saw Patch Of Blue on television for the first time about twenty five years ago. I have seen it a couple of times since then and really enjoy this movie. A worthy addition to any collection. I will be picking this one up for sure.
  7. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
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    This film, along with Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, both had a huge effect on me and my attitudes towards prejudice growing up as a child. I can't wait to add this one to the collection.

  8. Tina_H_V

    Tina_H_V Supporting Actor

    Mar 25, 2000
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    Yes, without a doubt, one of Sidney Poitier's finest efforts. I would recommend this to anybody myself. There is plenty of classic Sidney to go around, and for reasonable prices, IMHO. This is a getter, along with, amongst others, the rest of the Tibbs Trilogy, Lilies Of The Field (where his Best Actor Oscar predated Denzel's and Halle's by nearly four decades!) and the seminal Buck and the Preacher, a western which, IMHO, merits a view. Great 1971 fare that one, with Harry Belafonte and Ruby Dee. Another underrated yet not-so-favorable Poitier title is Brother John, a little on the odd side, but, like A Patch of Blue, IMHO, worth the look.

    Glad you made such a fine discovery of a fine film, Ron. [​IMG]

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