A Festering Problem of Our Flawed Society: Larry Peerce’s Groundbreaking One Potato, Two Potato – Oct. 11

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, October 11 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Larry Peerce • 1964
Frank Richards (Bernie Hamilton) and Julie Cullen (Barbara Barrie) would have “an ordinary, everyday, uncomplicated relationship” — if only Frank weren’t black and Julie white. The backlash to their marriage comes to a head when Joe Cullen, Julie’s ex-husband, sues for custody of their daughter Ellen Mary. Frank and Julie chose to create a loving home together, but no matter how good they are to each other and to Ellen Mary, a deadbeat who walked out on his wife and child can still assert the prerogative of white male control and decide if that home is ‘acceptable.’ Shot completely on location in Painesville, Ohio, One Potato, Two Potato was the feature debut of Larry Peerce, a Stella Adler protégé who cut his teeth as a TV director in Cincinnati and would later go on to helm the superlative sociological thriller The Incident. One Potato, Two Potato’s unsparing depiction of what a contemporaneous New York Times review called a “festering problem of our flawed society” won the film accolades at home and abroad, including an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay and a Best Actress citation for Barrie at Cannes. As an independent production, One Potato, Two Potato assailed American society’s spitefulness towards racially-mixed families with more honesty and directness than Hollywood’s later and less successful attempt to be interracially woke, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. (JR)
83 min • Bawalco Picture Company • 35mm from Rialto Pictures
Short: “Cicero March” (The Film Group, 1966) – 16mm – 8 min

And check out the rest of the season here.

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