A Patch Of Blue (1965): Overcoming Adversity And Despair

As we remember the great Sidney Poitier, I thought it worthwhile re-blogging this article on A Patch Of Blue. There are other films starring the great actor – some of far greater importance, depth and nuance – but Poitier’s performance in A Patch Of Blue exhibits his range, emotional content and delivery that illustrates his professionalism as well as his great talent.

Thank you Sidney Poitier for your wonderful presence not only on film but in life, and the richness you gave us all with your beautiful presence.

Silver Screen Classics

by Paul Batters

patch-1280Selina D’Arcy: I said what I did because I love you so much.
Gordon Ralfe: I know why you said it. I’m glad you said it. You brought me back to Earth.
Selina D’Arcy: I didn’t want you to come back to Earth. I wanted you to make love with me.

Hollywood is often accused (and not without good reason) of focusing on the glamorous and dealing in illusion. At the risk of stating the obvious, the very nature of art is illusion and any attempt to portray reality is going to be limited by or affected by the perception of the artist and the creative elements at their disposal. Yet within those bounds is a near infinite array of methods in portraying a narrative. Even the attempt to portray the harsher realities of the life experience are fraught with difficulty and the aim of the film-maker…

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2 thoughts on “A Patch Of Blue (1965): Overcoming Adversity And Despair

  1. Since we’re Twitter friends and members of Gill’s Facebook group, I thought it was high time I paid you a visit. 🙂

    In browsing your recent posts, this one caught my attention because I recently saw A Patch of Blue for the first time. Well, the first time that counted. 🙂 I originally saw it when I was much too young to appreciate it, and all the darkness scarred me. It was only the encouragement of a fellow blogger that inspired me to give another chance just weeks ago.

    And I am so glad I did! I appreciate darkness more now, if it serves a greater story, and what a great story this is. ❤

    I am still not sure if Gordon felt romantic love for Selina (or if maybe he just wasn’t letting himself go there since he knew she wasn’t really ready for it), but I do think he’s a human example of perfect love: he brings her joy, helps her grow, pays attention to her preferences, protects her, wants what’s best for her, and even lets her go – despite how she longs to stay. If love were a person, it would be Gordon. ❤ And Sidney Poitier is powerful. His silent reaction to Selina’s horrible story in the kitchen (barely holding himself together) and the final scene (of course that final scene!) got me most. ❤

    Even if Gordon doesn’t have romantic feelings (or won’t let himself have them) by the end of the film, it’s conceivable he’d develop them later. This may be the only movie ever that I wish had a sequel (sort of). I can’t help but wonder what happens in a year. 🙂

    And Selina’s family! I think being disabled and not having “the strength or fortitude to break from it” (as you so brilliantly put it) applies to both Rose-Ann AND Ole Pa. I think Ole Pa loved Selina (in his own backward way), but he just couldn’t galvanize himself to change their situation. He’d given up. It surprisingly touched me when, after that awful fight in the apartment, he tells Selina, “I can’t clean it up. I’d like to, but I can’t.” 😦 How many people share that viewpoint? I pray I’m a Gordon, not an Ole Pa.

    And Shelly Winters is incredible. I love that image you found – the mid-slap one. That sneer on her face as she’s BACKHANDING her daughter. Whoa. 😮

    Such a superb film and tribute to a fine actor. 🙂

    My blog is called The Classic Film Connection, and I’d love for you to check it out! 🙂 (My very first post, Welcome to the Classic Film Connection – in which I list the top ten best films I’ve seen so far in my lifetime – may especially spark your interest, because a Sidney Poitier classic made the cut.) I hope you can stop by soon! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jillian! Please forgive my late reply. It’s been a while since I’ve been here and I’m at point of giving up writing all together. I do, however, truly appreciate your kind words and appreciation of my article. I like your insights into A Patch Of Blue and agree that the performances of these superb actors are brilliant. I, too, am not sure if Gordon has romantic feelings for her and I remember hoping that there would be a reconnection between them. And yet it’s a far more fitting and bittersweet ending that they don’t and find other paths in life. I think that’s the point for Gordon – Selina needs to experience the greater world outside of the prison she has been in.

      Not sure if you are aware of the sadness and tragedy of Elizabeth Hartman’s life. Such a talented actress who dealt with some difficult demons in her life.

      I will definitely visit your blog and look forward to reading your work. Again, forgive my tardiness in responding and hope all is well with you! Regards, Paul 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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