Sunday, January 27, 2008

Searching for A Patch of Blue in cloudy skies

When I started my last semester, taking on a full-time school load as well as maintaining a full-time workload, I had a burning desire to watch Yours, Mine and Ours (1968) (see previous entry). Something about 2 people tackling on a ginormous family gave me comfort with my load which seemed tiny in comparison. This time however, at the eve of the Spring semester, I felt like watching a very different movie from the Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda comedy.

On the eve of the Spring semester, I watched a film that I absoltutely love. I throw around the word "love" pretty loosely when talking about films. But in this case I have an emotional attachment to this particular movie as it finds its way into the recesses of my emotions and touches my heart on a deeper level than most of my regular cinematic experiences ever dare to delve into. This film is A Patch of Blue (1965).

A Patch of Blue has been on regular rotation on TCM for a few years. There is a good chance that on a quiet Sunday afternoon, you may find this playing on the channel. My first instincts were to change the channel. But after I watched the short documentary "A Cinderella named Elizabeth" (1965), which shows how Elizabeth Hartman got her first movie role as Selina D'Arcy in A Patch of Blue, I was curious to see how her performance turned out. The result, a movie that took my breath away.

If you haven't seen it yet, in a nutshell, this film is about a young African-American man, Gordon (played by the very handsome Sidney Poitier), who befriends a blind girl who is optimistic about life even though she lives with her promiscuous and abusive mother, Rose-ann (played by Shelley Winters), and her drunk grandfather (last performance by Wallace Ford). The two fall in love in a society in which miscegenation is a threat to a society that values the separation of races.

Why do I watch this film now, before my last big crazy-busy semester of my graduate school career? Because I love it and watching a film I love always comforts me in times of crisis. And also because watching poor Selina D'Arcy live a horrid life of destitution and abuse, on top of being blind, and to watch her still have a happy outlook on life reminds me to appreciate what I have and to not complain!

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