The loons are back again on Golden Pond and so are Norman Thayer, a retired professor, and Ethel who have had a summer cottage there since early in their marriage. This summer their ... See full summary »
After a period of vacation in Hawaii, Joanna "Joey" Drayton returns to her parents' home in San Francisco bringing her fiancé, the high-qualified Dr. John Prentice, to introduce him to her mother Christina Drayton that owns an art gallery and her father Matt Drayton that is the publisher editor of the newspaper The Guardian. Joey was raised with a liberal education and intends to get married with Dr. John Prentice that is a black widower and needs to fly on that night to Geneva to work with the World Health Organization. Joey invites John's parents Mr. Prentice and Mrs. Prentice to have dinner with her family and the couple flies from Los Angeles to San Francisco without knowing that Joey is white. Christina invites also the liberal Monsignor Ryan, who is friend of her family. Along the day and night, the families discuss the problems of their son and daughter. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When the movie was conceived and launched by producer-director Stanley Kramer, one of Hollywood's greatest liberal movie-makers, intermarriage between African Americans and Caucasians was still illegal in 14 states. Towards the end of production, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Loving v. Virginia. The Loving decision was made on June 12, 1967, two days after the death of star Spencer Tracy, who had played a "phony" white liberal who grudgingly accepts his daughter's marriage to a black man. In Loving, the High Court unanimously ruled that anti-miscegenation marriage laws were unconstitutional. In his opinion, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State." Interestingly, Kramer kept in the line of the African American father played by Roy Glenn, who tells his son played by Sidney Poitier, "In 16 or 17 states you'll be breaking the law. You'll be criminals." This was probably because Kramer realized that, despite the change in the law, the couple would still be facing a great deal of prejudice requiring a stalwart love for their marriage to survive, which was the message Tracy's character gives in an eight-minute scene that is the climax of the movie. The scene summing up the theme of the movie was the last one the dying Tracy filmed for the movie, and it was the last time he would ever appear on film. It took a week to shoot the scene and at the end, he was given a standing ovation by the crew. He died a little over a fortnight after walking off of a sound-stage for the last time. See more »
While the Draytons are at the drive-in, Christina's large ring switches hands at least twice. See more »
You know, I just had a thought. Why don't I go check into a hotel and get some rest, and you go find your folks?
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It's so easy to criticize this film. The soundtrack from DeVol is *awful*. The film is incredibly dated and there are some scenes, (the scene with the delivery boy and the ice cream shop), that are unbearable, like something out of a Gidget film.
Of course the other problem with this film, 33 years after its production, is who in the year 2000, would be upset about their daughter marrying a Yale educated Doctor?
However, despite all this, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a great film. The film is wonderful because it was the last film made by one of Hollywood's greatest duos, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
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.
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.
Spencer Tracy is one of America's greatest actors. This is his last triumph. For that reason alone, it's a true cinematic treasure.
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