"One Potato, Two Potato" Is Released
One Potato, Two Potato is a 1964 black-and-white drama film directed by Larry Peerce.
The principal roles are played by Barbara Barrie and Bernie Hamilton. Robert Earl Jones also appears in the film.
The storyline revolves around the difficulties faced by an interracial marriage between an African-American office worker and a white divorcee. The climax of the film is a highly emotional courtroom custody case in which the woman's angry ex-husband demands custody of their daughter, charging that the child's welfare is threatened by the environment created by the marriage.
For her role as Julie Cullen Richards, Barrie won the Best Actress award at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival.
Filmed in Ohio, One Potato, Two Potato was a "critic's darling" film of 1964 dealing with the then-daring topic of miscegenation. White Barbara Barrie divorces her husband Richard Mulligan, then falls in love with and marries African-American Bernie Hamilton. When the ex-husband sues for custody of Barbara's child, arguing that a mixed household is an improper place to raise the girl, Hamilton fights for his parental rights in court. But the judge is driven by the prejudices of the era, and the child goes back to its natural father. At the time of its release, One Potato, Two Potato was praised beyond all proportion for its realistic and progressive dissection of race relations. Only a few renegade critics like Judith Crist dared to note that sociologically, the film was still mired in the patronizing Pinky era. Instead of concentrating on the injustices heaped upon black Bernie Hamilton, the film's sympathies are almost totally directed towards poor, put-upon, snow-white Barbara Barrie. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide