One Potato, Two Potato
DIRECTOR: LARRY PEERCE
CAST: BARBARA BARRIE, BERNIE HAMILTON, RICHARD MULLIGAN, HARRY BELLAVER
Midwest divorced mom Julie (Barbara Barrie), looking for a fresh start in a new town, falls in love and marries her co-worker Frank (Bernie Hamilton). But Julie is white, and Frank is black, and this is 1964 America. When estranged exhusband Joe (Richard Mulligan) discovers that his daughter now lives in a “mixed” household, he sues for sole custody. Larry Peerce’s independent production was made in northeast Ohio (about as far from Hollywood as one can get) and takes a delicate, compassionate approach to the reality of abandonment from friends and family unwilling to confront prejudice. Despite a best actress win for Barrie at Cannes in 1964, the US distributor (Cinema V) could not secure playdates in many cities until a guest appearance by Peerce on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show convinced heartland theaters to open the film. Over fifty years after its production, One Potato is a document of early American independent filmmaking grappling with issues that the studios would not touch.
A Rialto Pictures release.