Patch of Blue, A [1965]

One of the first studio films to deal with interracial romance (or even the possibility of it), A Patch of Blue was a huge hit upon its release, appealing to those looking for both social protest and a smart date movie. Sidney Poitier plays Gordon, a compassionate stranger who befriends a blind white girl named Selina (Elizabeth Hartman). Selina, the next thing to a shut-in, can only judge people by their voices, and Gordon's is unusually patient, kind. Troubles ensue when Selina's abusive mother (Shelley Winters in her second Oscar-winning performance) happens upon the pair during one of their park rendezvous. Ivan Dixon plays Poitier's militant brother, and veteran Wallace Ford appears as Selina's kindly lush of a grandfather. Jerry Goldsmith earned an Oscar nomination for his lilting piano theme, surely one of the simplest, most effective pieces of music to grace a Hollywood film. --Glenn Lovell

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