Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Guess Who's Coming to Dinner |
40th Anniversary Edition
Actors: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway
Director: Stanley Kramer
Genres: Drama, African American Cinema
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn (who won the Academy AwardŽ for Best Actress for her performance) are unforgettable as perplexed parents in this landmark 1967 movie about mixed marriage. Joanna (Katharine Houghton), th... more »
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Flawed, but important film
Sean Aune | Kirksville, MO United States | 12/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1967's Guess Who's Coming To Dinner probably raised more than a few eyebrows at the time of it's release. Sadly though, if you can not put yourself in the mindset of that time, the potential emotional impact of the film will be lost on you.
Set in the San Fransisco of the late 1960's, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner tells the story of Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton) bringing her boyfriend of a mere 10 days, Dr. John Wade Prentice (Sidney Poitier), home to meet her parents. What the parents (played by Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn) don't know is A)she is coming home, B)that she has a boyfriend she is planning to marry C)that said boyfriend is African-American and that D)said boyfriend is 14 years older than she.
Dr. Prentice informs Joey's parents of his intentions to marry their daughter, but also informs them he will not marry Joanna without their permission. To further complicate matters though, they only have this one day to decide if they approve as he is due to leave for Geneva Switzerland for a job. What ensues is a family's hopes and dreams for their daughter being analyzed and re-thought in the span of a mere few hours. Trying to decide if their daughter's happiness should outweigh the inevitable hardships she will face in a relationship such as this.
The film spares no time in setting up just how happy the new couple are, and also does not waste time in letting you know the difficulties an interracial couple will face at this time in American history. Sadly though, it goes wrong in several other areas that are disturbing. The cookie-cutter characters in this film abound. The Irish Catholic Monsignor, the wise-to-the-world African American housekeeper and the busy-body friend of the Mother who has to be put in her place. If you can look pass these worn out, two-dimensional characters though, there is a poignant story of how love truly should conquer all.
Going back and watching a film that deals with race relations from a different time period can, however, be enlightening. Not once do you hear the term "African American". You do hear the "N" word once, but it is used by the housekeeper towards Dr. Prentice. It is still shocking to hear it blurted out all of a sudden, but again, you have to remember the time frame the film was made in.
This is a difficult review to write though. This movie is flawed, but do you rate it based on its obvious film making flaws, or the merits of a story that needed to be told? I think in the end you have to go with the story. The story is basic, simple and timeless, don't judge a book by it's cover, and don't care what the rest of the world thinks. For that, and its place in cinematic history, it deserves 4 stars.
Sadly, the DVD though only gets 2 stars. It does feature a gorgeous transfer of the film, and does offer both widescreen and full screen versions. However, the lone extra is the original theatrical trailer. Certainly there must have been something they could have included in the form of a commentary track for one of AFI's Top 100 Films Of The 20th Century. A sad, little trailer is all it gets? Pathetic.
On a side note, this is also a sad movie to watch as you know Spencer Tracy passed away only 17 days after filming completed. You can also see the early signs of Katherine Hepburn beginning to show signs of trembling that would later be so well known. It was a fine film for both noteworthy actors.
Four stars for the film
Two stars for the DVD"
Thomas Magnum | NJ, USA | 01/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Guess Who's Coming To Dinner was a ground breaking film upon its release in 1967. The story revolves around a liberal San Francisco couple whose twenty-three year old daughter comes home from a trip to Hawaii and surprises them by announcing she's engaged to an older man who also happens to be black. The couple, Matt & Christina Drayton, is played by screen legends Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Sidney Poitier, Dr. John Prentice, is the fiancé and Katharine Houghton, Joey Drayton, (who is Ms. Hepburn's niece) is their daughter. Matt & Christina are obviously shaken by the news and concerned about the situation. It is not because they are prejudice against minorities as their daughter is marrying a black man, but it is against the struggles she will face in such a relationship. Also, the doctor has put it to them that if they do not approve and give their blessings, he will call the marriage off. They have less than twenty-four hours to make their decision and they struggle with it, especially Matt. He is a crusading newspaper publisher who has championed liberal causes all his life, but faced with this situation, his beliefs are shaken to their core. Throughout the day they get council from their best friend, Monsignor Ryan (a superb Cecil Kellaway, who provides them with guidance and a voice of reason. Joey invites John's parents (Roy Glenn & Beah Richards) up from Los Angeles to dinner. Upon finding out Joey is white his parents voice their displeasure with the situation as well. When the two sets of parents get together, the mothers agree that they will support their children because they love them, but the fathers take an opposing view. Mr. Poitier gives a powerful and forceful retribution to his father about the state of black men in the current day and it shows why he is such a brilliant actor. In the end, Matt gives an impassioned speech to John & Joey about the struggles they will face and the unkindness that will be heaped on them, but that if they truly love each they will survive. Director Stanley Kramer does a brilliant job of making the film poignant yet not sappy. The cast are all brilliant and Ms. Hepburn would end up taking home her second Best Actress Oscar (after a thirty-four span from her first for Morning Glory in 1933) and the film won a second Oscar for William Rose for his screenplay. The film is definitely dated as interracial marriages are not as shocking as they were at the time and interracial couples have been the basis of countless films since then. The film is still powerful, because prejudices still exist in this country and the quandary one has when they have their beliefs tested is all too real. Mr. Tracy was gravelly ill at the time and it turned out that this would be his final film. He died two weeks after its completion, but he was posthumous given his final Academy Award Best Actor nomination and he delivered a powerful and lasting reminder of why he was one of the greatest actors in film history."
Who's says movies don't teach you anything?
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 08/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' is one true cinematic treasure. This film is wonderful because it was made by one of Hollywood's greatest duos, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. I doubt audiences back then would respond to this if it wasn't for the duo. Although it would not shock me if people then would be thinking Hollywood had finally lost its edge with this one. It was a keen decision to have Kate and Spencer be the leads because in doing so they were assuring not only box-office draw -- people would be returning to watch their favorite unmarried couple bicker, lovingly, yet again -- but a strong statement.
This film was made while Spencer Tracy was dying. Spencer had to put his entire salary in escrow in order for the film company to allow him to do the film. So why did Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy agree to do this film, without immediate payment? Because it's a film about forbidden love, it's a film about loving someone no matter what society thinks, or what the rules are. This is something Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn knew a great deal about. Potier of course turns in a great performance, impeccable as always. Watch for Isabel Sanford, ("The Jefferson's") particularly the one memorable scene where she explains to Potier's character just what "black power" really is. Cecil Kellaway sparkles as Monsignor Ryan, and Beah Richards and Roy Glenn, as the parents to Potier's character, mirror Hepburn and Tracy. Katharine Houghton (Hepburn's niece), as Johanna Drayton, also done well but her inexperience is very apparent due to the heavyweight cast.
What makes this film outstanding is, by the end of the film you realize, Kate and Spencer are not even acting they are relaying their feelings about each other, through the film. Once you catch that, the drama of the final few scenes is just unparalleled and Spencer's final speech, about his love for Kate (Christina), can drive even the most twisted soul to tears.
A few things to catch in this film, watch Kate's face when Spencer recites the line, 'screw what the rest of the world thinks about your love'...those are real tears. Watch Spencer Tracey as he paces back and forth on the terrace near the end of the film. He realizes he is about to begin one of the last scenes he will ever film. He's line 'well I'll be a son of a bitch'...is more a realization he's about to make his last grandstand on the big screen, in his entire career.
There is so much real honest-to-god acting talent concentrated in this movie, it. It's such a treat to watch these legendary actors at work. I highly recommend it.
Worth a watch
lab tech | 11/02/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While this movie seems to drag a bit in the middle section, I still reccommend it. Why? I'll tell you.This movie above all else, means well. The filmmakers are simply trying to say what they believe. This film is plain and simple, a soapbox. Nothing wrong with that. The performances are another reason to watch this movie. Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn are worth watching in anything. Poiter doesn't give a performance quite up to par for him, but it is satisfactory. Poiter's parents are also great. There are some spectacular moments here. Great monologue by Tracy at the end makes the entire film worth watching. I don't cry about a film or book or tv show. I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually cried over a piece of mass media. Tears came to my eyes during this wonderful speech. They didn't break and run, but they were there.The film is sightly weighted down by a plodding midsection, but on retrospect I think it might have been made that way on purpose. Will there ever come a time when people of different color can live together in harmony? I think so. To get to that place, however, we will have to go through a process that parallels this film: long, arduous and drawn out periods, punctuated by moments of sheer genius and if we are lucky, at the end light will dawn."