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For Love of Ivy (1968)

For Love of Ivy. Feature film. (1968, 101 mins) IMDB

...A romantic comedy you've probably never heard of, but should...

I

t didn't long into this movie to realize I had seen it before. How could I have forgotten? Too many movies? Not sure.

FOR LOVE OF IVY is a romantic comedy where Sidney Poitier plays a successful businessman (he and his partner run a day-time trucking company and a night-time gambling operation). She's a live-in maid to a wealth family in the suburbs of NYC. One of those homes on Long Island with a view of the ocean and lots of green grass. There's a husband and wife and two adult children. The family all talk with Ivy but not to each other. Then the bombshell.

Ivy gives notice. She wants to quit her job as a maid to the family, move into NYC and go to school. She wants something more. Nothing the family says can make her change her minds. She's going to leave.

The two children hatch a plan. Maybe if she met a man, she'd wouldn't want to leave. Tim, the hippie son, scams a meeting with Jack Parks who happens to do trucking business with the family company. Jack isn't too pleased about it. He's single and wants to stay that way. Besides, a maid isn't his idea of a mate. Part of the plan includes Ivy being there at the same time and the two meet. Before you know it, he's invited to dinner and the story is in full swing.

What develops is love. He falls in love with her, scene by scene. She likewise. There comes a point where they must split up, the end of Act II. Before they split up, they were definitely in love with each other even if they didn't say it entirely.

What causes the break-up? Ivy realizes there was a set-up. She reasons Jack is only going along with the kid's blackmail which is essence: date our maid or we'll tell the cops about your illegal gambling operation. It's true, but it's not true. It started out that way, but as he got to know her, he fell in love.

Since it's a film from 1968 and the two lead characters are black in a white world, race plays a part of the story, but it's a comedy and therefore it's toned down.

It would be easy to quibble about the plot, but that would take away from seeing these two people fall in love. It was fun to watch. Too bad Abbey Lincoln who played Ivy didn't have more feature film roles. She was beautiful and charming to watch. If I have to explain anything about Sidney Poitier then you must be young.

Posted 2009/03/06 at 18h41ET in Movie Commentary.

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