A Patch of Blue (1965)

105 mins | Melodrama | 10 December 1965

Director:

Guy Green

Writer:

Guy Green

Producer:

Pandro S. Berman

Cinematographer:

Robert Burks

Production Designers:

George W. Davis, Urie McCleary

Production Company:

Pandro S. Berman Productions
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HISTORY

The 3 Dec 1964 DV announced producer Pandro S. Berman had begun pre-production on A Patch of Blue, with Sidney Poitier set to star. The film was based on Elizabeth Kata’s 1961 novel, Be Ready With Bells and Drums. Newcomer Elizabeth Hartman was cast to play opposite Poitier in the independent picture, to be released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M), as reported in the 16 Dec 1964 Var. Hartman was granted a ten-week leave from the Broadway play, Everybody Out, the Castle is Sinking, in order to film A Patch of Blue at M-G-M Studios in Culver City, CA, in Mar 1965. The 22 Dec 1964 DV noted that Guy Green would be adapting the screenplay, as well as directing the picture.
       A news item in the 15 Mar 1965 DV confirmed that production began that day.
       On 5 Apr 1965, DV indicated that the film was ahead of schedule, but actress Shelley Winters was ill, and her starting date on A Patch of Blue was postponed. The 8 Apr 1965 DV announced that the $1.2 million picture was “three days ahead of schedule.” The budget was kept low due to “planning” and limited location shooting. On the M-G-M lot, “only two interior sets and a park” were utilized, with additional “minor location work.”
       For her role as a blind girl, Elizabeth Hartman wore specially designed contact lenses to obstruct her vision, as noted in the 12 Dec 1965 LAT.
       Filming completed on 29 Apr 1965, five days ahead of schedule, and $65,000 under budget, totaling ... More Less

The 3 Dec 1964 DV announced producer Pandro S. Berman had begun pre-production on A Patch of Blue, with Sidney Poitier set to star. The film was based on Elizabeth Kata’s 1961 novel, Be Ready With Bells and Drums. Newcomer Elizabeth Hartman was cast to play opposite Poitier in the independent picture, to be released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M), as reported in the 16 Dec 1964 Var. Hartman was granted a ten-week leave from the Broadway play, Everybody Out, the Castle is Sinking, in order to film A Patch of Blue at M-G-M Studios in Culver City, CA, in Mar 1965. The 22 Dec 1964 DV noted that Guy Green would be adapting the screenplay, as well as directing the picture.
       A news item in the 15 Mar 1965 DV confirmed that production began that day.
       On 5 Apr 1965, DV indicated that the film was ahead of schedule, but actress Shelley Winters was ill, and her starting date on A Patch of Blue was postponed. The 8 Apr 1965 DV announced that the $1.2 million picture was “three days ahead of schedule.” The budget was kept low due to “planning” and limited location shooting. On the M-G-M lot, “only two interior sets and a park” were utilized, with additional “minor location work.”
       For her role as a blind girl, Elizabeth Hartman wore specially designed contact lenses to obstruct her vision, as noted in the 12 Dec 1965 LAT.
       Filming completed on 29 Apr 1965, five days ahead of schedule, and $65,000 under budget, totaling thirty-three days of shooting, and $1,135,000 in costs, according to the 4 May 1965 DV. Berman and Green credited the Hollywood production crews for the achievement, and gave special mention to assistant director Hank Moonjean’s “excellent planning.”
       The 16 Jun 1965 DV announced that M-G-M was undecided on a release date for the picture, but indicated that A Patch of Blue would require “special handling.”
       Conductor Jerry Goldsmith led an orchestra of fifty-two musicians during two days of recording the score, as stated in the 30 Jun 1965 DV. Tommy Morgan was credited for his harmonica playing.
       The 20 Jul 1965 DV reported that producer Berman was pressing M-G-M to seek Academy Award consideration for the film, and following an impressive screening, M-G-M agreed to meet qualification deadlines by releasing A Patch of Blue before the end of 1965. DV indicated that a sequel to the film was under consideration. On 6 Dec 1965, DV stated that Berman planned to start work immediately on the sequel, with Poitier and Hartman reprising their roles, and Guy Green was already underway on the treatment. However, a sequel never came to fruition.
       The 15 Sep 1965 Var announced the picture’s opening on 24 Dec 1965 at the Crest Westwood Theater in Los Angeles, CA. The opening was scheduled to move up to 10 Dec 1965, according to the 17 Nov 1965 DV, which also reported an “invitation-only” screening at the Crest on 1 Dec 1965, with appearances by Sidney Poitier and Elizabeth Hartman.
       Hartman received the “Star of the Future” award from the Theatre Owners of America’s annual Allied Convention in Pittsburgh, PA, for her acting debut in A Patch of Blue, as noted in the 5 Oct 1965 DV and the 6 Oct 1965 Var. The awards ceremony was planned for 14 Oct 1965.
       A screening was held in Washington, D.C., on 28 Oct 1965, hosted by the Motion Picture Association of America in honor of George Stevens, Jr., as reported in the 29 Oct 1965 DV.
       On 12 Dec 1965, NYT announced that the New York City premiere would be held on 15 Dec 1965 at the Beekman Theatre. A Patch of Blue was accompanied in both the New York City and Los Angeles releases by the short animated film, The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, directed by Chuck Jones of Looney Tunes fame, and Maurice Noble. The ten-minute picture won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Cartoons, for producrs Jones and Les Goldman.
       The 13 Dec 1965 DV reported a record-breaking three day opening at the 760-seat Crestwood Theatre, with $11,400 in box-office receipts. By 15 Dec 1965, the exclusive engagement had brought in $18,000. According to a "Big Rental Pictures of 1966" roundup in the 4 Jan 1967 Var,^ the film had grossed $6.3 million up to that time.
       A Patch of Blue was nominated for five Academy Awards, with Shelley Winters winning in the Actress in a Supporting Role category. Additional nominations included: Art Direction (Black-and-White); Actress (Elizabeth Hartman); Music (Jerry Goldsmith); and Cinematography (Black-and-White) for Robert Burks. Sidney Poitier also appeared with Anne Bancroft in 1965’s, The Slender Thread (see entry), which received Academy Award nominations for Art Direction and Costume Design.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Dec 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
22 Dec 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
5 Mar 1965
p. 6.
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1965
p. 27.
Daily Variety
5 Apr 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1965
p. 41.
Daily Variety
4 May 1965
p. 1, 15.
Daily Variety
16 Jun 1965
p. 11.
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
20 Jul 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1965
p. 10.
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Nov 1965
p. 3, 14.
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1965
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1965
Section D, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
12 Dec 1965
Section B, p. 1.
New York Times
12 Dec 1965
Section X, p. 11.
New York Times
16 Dec 1965
Section L, p. 63.
Variety
16 Dec 1964
p. 15.
Variety
15 Sep 1965
p. 5.
Variety
6 Oct 1965
p. 19.
Variety
15 Dec 1965
p. 9.
Variety
4 Jan 1967
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents
The Pandro S. Berman-Guy Green Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Stills
Gaffer
Best boy
Best boy
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec supv
Boom op
Cable
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
MAKEUP
Make-up created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Be Ready With Bells and Drums by Elizabeth Kata (New York, 1961).
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 December 1965
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening at the Crest Westwood Theater: 10 December 1965
New York opening at the Beekman Theatre: 15 December 1965
Production Date:
15 March--29 April 1965
Copyright Claimant:
Pandro S. Berman Productions
Copyright Date:
24 November 1965
Copyright Number:
LP32176
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Lenses
[Filmed] In Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
105
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
20966
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Selina D'Arcey, an 18-year-old girl accidentally blinded by her mother, Rose-Ann, in a family quarrel 13 years ago, lives in a shabby tenement with her prostitute mother and alcoholic grandfather, Ole Pa. She never leaves the apartment, has never attended school, knows nothing about braille, and spends her days cleaning, cooking, and stringing beads. When Ole Pa offers to take her to the park one morning and pick her up on his way home from work, Selina eagerly agrees. In the park she screams when a caterpillar lands on her shoulder, and Gordon Ralfe, a friendly young black man comes to her aid. They become friends, and Selina persuades Ole Pa to take her to the park every day. When Gordon introduces Selina to his brother Mark, Mark tries to discourage the couple's friendship. Then Sadie, an aging prostitute neighbor, sees the two together and tells Rose-Ann. Rose-Ann starts to beat Selina and tries to explain Gordon's racial difference, but Selina is unmoved. Gordon arranges to have Selina admitted to a school for the blind, a plan that interferes with Rose-Ann and Sadie's plan to start a whorehouse with Selina as a special attraction. Selina recalls to Gordon the last image she remembers seeing, a patch of blue sky, and tells him that one of her mother's customers raped her when she was 5 years old. Gordon insists upon removing her from the tenement into the school but will not marry her until she experiences other people and knows her mind more fully. Though Selina wants to marry Gordon, she heeds his advice and enters the ... +


Selina D'Arcey, an 18-year-old girl accidentally blinded by her mother, Rose-Ann, in a family quarrel 13 years ago, lives in a shabby tenement with her prostitute mother and alcoholic grandfather, Ole Pa. She never leaves the apartment, has never attended school, knows nothing about braille, and spends her days cleaning, cooking, and stringing beads. When Ole Pa offers to take her to the park one morning and pick her up on his way home from work, Selina eagerly agrees. In the park she screams when a caterpillar lands on her shoulder, and Gordon Ralfe, a friendly young black man comes to her aid. They become friends, and Selina persuades Ole Pa to take her to the park every day. When Gordon introduces Selina to his brother Mark, Mark tries to discourage the couple's friendship. Then Sadie, an aging prostitute neighbor, sees the two together and tells Rose-Ann. Rose-Ann starts to beat Selina and tries to explain Gordon's racial difference, but Selina is unmoved. Gordon arranges to have Selina admitted to a school for the blind, a plan that interferes with Rose-Ann and Sadie's plan to start a whorehouse with Selina as a special attraction. Selina recalls to Gordon the last image she remembers seeing, a patch of blue sky, and tells him that one of her mother's customers raped her when she was 5 years old. Gordon insists upon removing her from the tenement into the school but will not marry her until she experiences other people and knows her mind more fully. Though Selina wants to marry Gordon, she heeds his advice and enters the school. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.