Written by / 9/20/2012 / No comments / , , ,

I PASSED FOR WHITE

year: 1960 cast: Sonya Wilde, James Franciscus, Patricia Michon rating: ***1/2
I PASSED FOR WHITE, one of those title-says-it-all kinda movies, is much better than you’d think. Thanks to the gorgeous Sonya Wilde, who has wonderful acting skills... what a shame she only appeared in a handful of television guest spots thereafter, mostly playing Native Americans on Westerns.

Wilde plays Bernice Lee – her hip brother blows sax at a club and her grandmother has words of wisdom, but no real answers, for what’s really troubling Bernice. She can’t keep a job when the employers find out she’s part black… It was the early sixties, after all.
"I guess I should start reading READER'S DIGEST instead of VIBE."
She decides to become Lila and, on a plane to another state and another life, she meets handsome businessman James Franciscus as Rick Leyton. After a windswept romance they get married. Of course he doesn’t realize her secret and the rest of the film has the John “Johnny” Williams's score blasting whenever anyone almost discovers her ruse: especially Rick’s pesky mother, continuously asking to meet Bernice's parents.

Wilde handles the melodrama perfectly and reaches for lies about her phantom family better than a lifelong politician. The tension builds nicely between the newlyweds, who make real sparks when times are good. Although Wilde looks so white, the audience won’t always share in the controversy of a mixed couple relationship. If it weren't for that pounding soundtrack you might forget what she's so worried about in the first place.
Sonya Wilde in I PASSED FOR WHITE
"Listen, brother, you don't know how dull white folks can be. Now, try resembling one."
Okay so this picture is merely to show Sonya's legs...
"I always dreamed of living in a tall tower, in a penthouse apartment, int he sky-high-high."
"I'm slightly buzzed, but you are the most gorgeous white girl I've ever met."
Opening Titles for I PASSED FOR WHITE
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