A Patch of Blue is a touching contemporary melodrama, relieved at times by generally effective humor, about a blind white girl, rehabilitated from a dreary home by a Negro. Film has very good scripting plus excellent direction and performances, including an exceptional screen debut by Elizabeth Hartman as the gal.
Director Guy Green adapted Elizabeth Kata’s Be Ready with Bells and Drums, and the ending, while positive, isn’t sudsy. Hartman gives a smash interpretation to the role, and progresses most believably from an uneducated, unwanted and home-anchored maiden, to an upbeat, firmer grasp on what is to be her sightless maturity.
Sidney Poitier is excellent as he becomes her first true friend and gives her some self-assurance. She, of course, doesn’t know he is Negro.
The domestic situation is grim, with Shelley Winters very good as Hartman’s sleazy mother. Vet character actor Wallace Ford, Winters’ dad, effectively blends personal frustration, shame and disappointment in his own daughter and pity for Hartman in limited footage.
1965: Best Supp. Actress (Shelley Winters).
Nominations: Best Actress (Elizabeth Hartman), B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction, Original Music Score