A Patch of Blue
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

Eighteen-year old Selina D'Arcey (Elizabeth Hartman) has been blind since she was five years old and lives in a slum apartment with her abusive mother Rose-Ann (Shelley Winters) and her drunkard grandfather, who she calls Ole Pa (Wallace Ford). The only bright spot in Selina's life is sitting in the park and stringing beads. There, she meets Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier), and they become friends. As Selina gets to know Gordon better, she starts falling in love with him. One day, Rose-Ann sees Gordon and Selina together and forbids Selina to see him again because he is 'colored.' Undaunted, Selina continues to see Gordon until things finally come to a head.

Yes. The film was adapted from the novel Be Ready with Bells and Drums (1961) by Australian author Elizabeth Kata. The novel was adapted for the screen by English film-maker Guy Green, OBE [1913-2005], who also directed the movie.

'A patch of blue' comes from one of things Selina remembers from her childhood before she got blind. When she was a small girl, too small to see out the window, she could only see a patch of blue sky above the windowsill, and that was one of very few colors she remembered. The first day that Ole Pa takes her to the park, Selina asks, 'The sky's blue isn't it...I remember blue'. Director Guy Green said that the title came from the blue patch of a British army unit. Because of their insignia, the unit was referred to as 'the patch of blue'. When trying to think of a title, they linked that up with her remembering the color "blue" and decided to use the phrase for the title.

How did Selina go blind?

When Selina was five years old, her father (Harry) came home to find her mother in bed with another man. A fight broke out, and Rose-Ann tossed a bottle of hydrogen peroxide at Harry. The lid flew off the bottle, and the peroxide splashed into the eyes of little Selina, who was huddled on a nearby bed. The peroxide blinded her and left her with some scars around her eyes.

Gordon gives Selina a music box and then sings along to the melody. The words are in French. The song is called 'Il pleut, il pleut, bergre' [English: It's raining, it's raining, shepherdess], composed in 1780 by French playwright (Philippe Franois Nazaire) Fabre d'glantine [1750-1794]. Lyrics (in French) and a sound clip can be found here.

How does the movie end?

When Selina finds out that Rose-Ann plans to move them into an apartment with Sadie (so they can start a whorehouse) and leave Ole Pa behind, she makes her way to the park where Gordon is waiting for her, having just arranged for Selina to attend a school for the blind. At first, Selina doesn't want to go, but Gordon promises that he'll come to visit her. Rose-Ann follows them to the park and tries to force Selina to come back home with her. Selina tries to run away from Rose-Ann and falls into a garden of rosebushes. Gordon helps her up, and Rose-Ann begins to hit him and warn him to keep his filthy hands off her daughter. Gordon just bats her away and retrieves the music box that Selina dropped, leaving Rose-Ann sputtering angrily to the passersby, who mostly ignore her. Gordon takes Selina back to his apartment where they wait for the school bus being sent to pick up Selina. While they wait, Selina asks Gordon why he doesn't marry her. Gordon explains that it's too soon to tell whether their love for each other is the marrying type and suggests that they wait for a year before making any decisions. When the bus arrives, Gordon and Selina hug each other goodbye, the driver escorts Selina to the bus, and Gordon goes back into his apartment. Suddenly, he realizes that Selina forgot to take the music box with her. He grabs it and runs down the stairs but, by time he makes it outside, the bus has pulled away.

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