Director: Stanley Kramer
Starring: Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn
Released in 1967, when Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? was being filmed, marriage between African Americans and Caucasians was still illegal in 14 U.S. states. This was probably the first film to discuss the topic of interracial marriages openly and the possibility that they would eventually become accepted as mainstream. There are also lots of moments of good acting in it.
A wealthy, white, liberal couple- Matt(Spencer Tracy) and Christina(Katherine Hepburn) Dreyton- is suddenly faced with the fact that their only daughter is determined to marry ablack doctor whom she has brought home to dinner. On top of it all Joey(Katherine Houghton) and Dr. Wade Prentic
e(Sidney Poitier) are determined to be married within the week. The Dreytons suddenly find that they are forced to live up to the liberal values they claim to espouse. Things get even more contraversial when Dr. Prentice's parents are added to the mix.
Why This Movie is Flippin Awesome:
Not only was this movie was revolutionary for it's time, it also has some good acting performances as well. Sidney Poitier, while not one of my favorite actors, gives a very masterful and dignified performance. He delivers a great speech towards the end of the movie to his father that sums up the frustration of post civil rights blacks regarding the racialist mentality of pre civil rights blacks. Poitier's speech is both filed with anger and love for his father and shows both passion and sensitivity. The clarity and specificity with which Poitier conveys his thoughts and actions are something any actor ought to pay close attention to.
Katherine Hepburn won the oscar for this particular performance and it is clear to see why. She is very sensitive and emotionally primed throughout every scene. There is an interesting story about this actually. She and Spencer Tracy were secret lovers for many many years. Although madly
in love, Tracy would not divorce his wife was because he did not want to break his Catholic vows of marriage. On top of all this, while filming this movie Spencer Tracy was a hardcore alchoholic and dying of cancer. He was to succumb six months after the filming of this movie. There is a speech that Tracy gives towards the end of the film that basically sums up their relationship. And Katherine Hepburn answers his speech with a display of feeling and passion that can only be brought forth on those rare occasions when art is mirrors life.
Another good performance was that of Beah Richards, Sidney Poitier's mom. She is very dignified and soulful in the role of a mother who wants the best for her son and who is actually much more forward thinking than her husband.
This film played a groundbreaking role in bringing mainstream acceptance of interracial dating to american culture. While the drama of this film is a little hokey at times, the ideas discussed are what is important and are what make this film a landmark film. On top of that the acting between Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy is quite touching and adds a very intriguing element of drama to the whole story.
Other movies you might like if you liked this movie:
To Sir With Love, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Bringing up Baby