|Page 11 of 26:||               |
|Index||251 reviews in total|
I would agree with those people who feel that Spencer Tracy was a great
actor and I've always felt that Katherine Hepburn was his perfect foil.
We're dealing here with material that has dated rather badly (I'm happy
to say) and a plot that doesn't require a soapbox, so Stanly Kramer is
somewhat out of his league. Tracy and Hepburn have never been better
and it's important to remember that Tracy was on his deathbed. They do
make the film and even the heavy-handedness of Kramer couldn't ruin it.
It already had a message for the time built in. The unsubtle race
problem got top notch, subtle treatment in this film that appeals to
the intellect as well as the heart. What pure joy!
Dr. Matt Drayton, played by the late Spencer Tracy, believes that all
men are equal. So when he's introduced to Dr. John Prentice, Sidney
Poitier as the man who wants to marry his daughter Joey, he asks him a
simple question. How would their children live in a country where
interracial marriage was still forbidden in many states or at least
frowned upon? Poitier, playing again an elegant and well-spoken man,
explains that Joey believes her kids would define the values that
America stands for, so much that they would be the most likely to rule
the country. They could even have a future President as a son, and that
they met in Hawaii makes the coincidence even scarier.
A visionary moment? Yes, in the sense that it knew the right direction History would take, foreseeing the fact that in 1967, a breakthrough year for USA, and then for movies, American society was needing changes, if not in actions at least in perceptions. The idea of a Black President was mentioned, as a silly possibility because it's too optimistic but that was toward this 'silliness' that society had to tend to. 40 years later, America did it, but the pleasant irony is that Sidney Poitier makes it obvious and natural even in the film's context: he's so close to perfect that it goes without saying that this man could be a President regardless of any racial consideration. After "To Sir, With Love" and "In the Heat of the Night", Sidney Poitier embodies the fight for human tolerance by playing a man who was beyond all the archetypes related to his ethnic background, who carried his heritage with pride but also struggled to show that there's more than a pigmentation to define him.
All came in three with Stanley Kramer's directed "Guess Who's Coming to the Dinner", probably the movie where Poitier delivered his message in the most explicit way, notably in the climactic moment when he confronted his father, with eyes burning with rage. Roger Ebert wondered why Poitier adopted this attitude toward his father, almost accusing him of carrying the weight of the past, while he was ready to accept the refusal of his to-be father-in-law. The question puzzled me but then I compared the three roles that Poitier played in 1967. Whether it's in "To Sir, With Love" or "In the Heat of the Night", he never had to confront one of his 'own', he was the Black man struggling with the Whites, he was like carrying his community's flag and forced despite himself to justify his actions, because he knew that no matter what he believed, people would see the colored man before the man. Yet when it comes to his father, he can't stand it and needs to express the anger he repressed for years.
Yet no matter how inspirational is the message, the film is imperfect in the 'deliverance' process. First, there's so much to be against in this marriage beyond the racial issue: Joey and John knew each other for 10 days, they almost give an ultimatum to their parents who must give their blessings, Joey's character was too blinded by her love to John that she couldn't figure one second what her parents went through. Matt Drayton didn't dislike John but hated the way they were forcing him to make a decision before he could even put their relationship into perspective and realize that it's definitely a problem of skin. Indeed, it's not a class issue since John is a well-educated man with a bourgeois lifestyle, so the problem is between Matt and himself, the film reaches a very intelligent point, the idea of being unconsciously racist, which compensate others moments where the film dangerously drifts to mindless comedy (I could have done without the camion driver and the foxy chick, unless it was supposed to say something) but overall, the film redeems itself through some powerful moment.
The chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy, who loved each other in real-life, is the soul of the film, here are two parents put in a tricky situation, confronted to their principles with the very idealism they inculcated to their daughter is thrown at their faces. Yes, they taught her to respect minorities, not to consider Whites superior, but they simply forgot to mention that she shouldn't marry a Black man. It's an intelligent move because sometimes people realize that they're more conservative than they think, that's 'unconscious' racism. The film also reaches the right emotional moment when John's parents come to dinner to express their disapproval, not one-sided as we'd expect. But the voices they expresses diverge too, the father is upset while the mother, Beah Richard, can see in John and Joey, something simple called passion. The film does give the fathers the bad roles, as if it's the very rationality of men that prevents them from acknowledging the supremacy of love beyond any consideration.
Although the transition can seem a bit abrupt, it's when confronted to this thought, while John expresses his rejection of the old Black vs. Whites dichotomy, that Tracy sees the light and invites everyone for a poignant speech, the last cinematic moment of an actor, who died 17 days after the filming. The film makes very powerful statements, with the most emblematic addressed to John's father: "You see yourself as a colored man. I see myself as a man", it does feel staged but when it's done by such great actors, the flaws are superfluous, and the film turns into an insightful and profoundly human experience that can be seen and seen again, without losing its relevance.
By the way, an IMDb user suggested that now that interracial marriage is not a taboo anymore, the film should be remade with a gay couple. I believe a remake with a Muslim person would be more appropriate regarding the current political context.
Matt and Christina Drayton (Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) are a
couple whose attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a
fiancé (Sidney Poitier) who is black.
I had never seen this movie until last night, primarily because I never saw the point. The story seemed so obvious and cliché to me, having grown up decades after the film was released. Of course a family would react poorly when they see the racial difference of their daughter's chosen husband. But, I underestimated the whole thing.
The film is more complex, because as it turns out, the family is not actually racist -- at least not in theory. And this film allows theory to meet practice, which may be harder to overcome than they thought. Luckily, they have the advantage of the black man being a world-renowned doctor. Had he just been any old schmuck, the family might not have been as welcoming. It is a whole different story.
The two things I found most interesting about the film were: one, that the two people most opposed to interracial marriage were both black. That seemed quite the opposite of what you might expect. And two, I found it odd that the biggest problem was supposed to be the racial difference. The 14-year age gap and the fact they wanted to get married after only 10 days of knowing each other was largely ignored. I find that to be the much bigger problem -- how do you commit to a lifetime after only 10 days?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is very easy to look back and say that because this film has Spencer
Tracy, it has Sidney Portier, it has Katherine Hepburn, it has a strong
supporting cast, it is directed by Stanley Kraemer that it is a great
movie. In a lot of ways I can understand it being stirring though it is
more of an idea movie, a message movie shall we say. The trouble comes
when you start to technically break the movie down.
This movie is made very much in the style of a 1950's film. This is the same problem many point out with Alfred Hitchcock's 1969 effort Topaz. It is very striking when you watch this one now. Tracy & Hepburn pretty much recap performances from films past here and despite the closing speech by Tracy, the film does not rise above that.
It is a feel good movie for the upper class that they would confront this issue in 1967. The fact is society already had passed this point in 1967 thanks to trail blazers Sidney Portier, Bill Cosby, and Martin Luther King who is mentioned in the film. The important point here is that the media had not gotten past it. Sadly that is still true today.
All I have to do is point out the treatments given to people in the media still. This movie has the guts to approach both sides of the issue in 1967, but does it for show. The script fails to produce the "beef" of this issue. Sidney Portier, one of the great actors of all time is reduced in this one to very few lines to make room for Tracy and Hepburn, an obvious 3rd banana. It is a shame. The script lets the viewer down, it could have been so much more.
The movie did get awards, and that is because of the feel good mentality that Hollywood had of itself that they had confronted a difficult issue. The fact is girls in 1967 were starting to break this ground by starting to accept others than their own race. The script here makes it seem like a shiny new penny. The only reason it was still an issue by this time were parents still stuck in the past. The film does get and A Plus for pointing that out.
Still, the movie could have been so much more if the meaning had been pointed out more strongly. It took a generation of youngsters starting in the late 1960's to get past this point and start finally over ruling parents. Even though this film confronted it head on, sadly parents of both races still refused to accept it. The main stream media still does not accept this.
I am glad people do now. I know plenty of mixed marriages and they work very well. What has happened with the main stream now is they have allowed money to become the discrimination factor instead of race. If this continues we are a few years from a much bigger issue. Money has not changed but when it is used to bring down people's self-worth as it is now, it becomes a much bigger issue than race ever was.
I don't know if anyone born after this movie was made can fully
understand the cultural context it was made in. With enough
understanding of history, one can imagine it, and, sadly, with the
remnants of racism, it might not be too difficult.
The tricky part is that with society changing so quickly, each year of the Sixties was culturally distinct. (The only thing that might come close would be the Forties, because of the war and post-war period.) By 1967, this movie was undoubtedly shocking for some, particularly the older generation. But for me, a white teen, it seemed a natural expression of the way the world should be, if not today, within the next decade. And the world, for the most part, did change.
I think many intelligent people began to treat interracial marriage and relationships with at least polite respect and tolerance, if not full approval. And some of that change could be traced to this movie. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a classic example of how Hollywood movies have helped give social change a nudge or shove.
As I recall, the most surprising element of this movie was how strongly the blacks objected to the marriage, particularly Tillie and Mr. Prentice. With all the struggle for equal rights, I expected them to applaud the engagement. Part of it, as shown in the movie, was the embedded sense of inequality, part was the knowledge, which I in my naiveté lacked, of what could happen, not just hateful racism, but possibly murder. But as Poitier says to his father, he doesn't think of himself as black, but as a man. That, not simply equal rights, was the true goal.
The movie was not such a shock because earlier movie had already broken the color barrier, and there already was some integration on TV shows. Poitier had played a key role, starting in 1958 with The Defiant Ones.
But more important was Lilies of the Field in 1963, which I remember seeing with my parents, not the most liberal people in the world. Yet how could anyone not like and admire Poitier as Homer Smith? And here was a black actor playing a man, not a black man. There was almost no reference to race in the movie. It is a beautiful, moving film, and can be seen on youtube.
By 1967, America had made significant progress in moving away from racism, at least outside of the Deep South. In 1967, there was a wonderful optimism in the air that reasonable people could create a better society, reflected in this movie. But by 1969, with the election of Nixon, some politicians began to stir up racial animosity, a tactic we have seen revived in the past decade. I don't think America ever fully regained that optimism, and now it is nearly dead.
So this movie is less about shock, than about expressing hope for an ideal of inequality where people, regardless of race, would think of themselves simply as people, and be viewed by others as simply people. Despite all the problems in America and some lingering racism, as well as animosity towards Hispanics because of the illegal alien problem, many people have reached such a race-neutral attitude. Some of that is reflected in the election of Barack Obama, which was eerily predicted by a remark in the film.
The acting is great all around, though it had more impact the first time I saw it. Stanley Kramer wisely avoided over-dramatizing it; now I see the subtleties of the performances. Poitier is the center of the story, and his portrayal gives it believability.
Spencer Tracy's performance is the most challenging, because he must go through some complex, difficult changes. His final speech is a blow to the gut of racism. It is one of the great finales of a film career, along with Burt Lancaster's disappearing into the corn field.
I was puzzled to see that this was the first film role for Katharine Houghton, because she looked the classic American actress of the 50s and 60s. Then it dawned on me, she reminded me of Hope Lange, particularly her role in Pocketful of Miracles. There is a point where Hepburn is about to break the bad news to her, but is interrupted, which echoes a scene in Capra's Miracles. Houghton conveys the same innocent purity as Lange; interestingly, both were raised in Connecticut, as was Hepburn.
And then there is Isabel Sanford. What would the movie be without her portrayal of cynicism and fury? It brings the story back to reality and gives it a gravitas that otherwise might be lost in a saccharine ending of sweetness and light.
Cecil Kellaway shows what race neutrality looks like from a white, that it is genuinely possible, and not just some cant or platitudes. I had recently watched him as the psychiatrist in Harvey. They are two quite distinct performances, the mark of a fine actor.
Younger viewers might dismiss this movie as ancient history. It holds up well because of the tensions in the complex interplay among the characters, and how they are resolved. It is good to watch this to understand where we were and how far we have come. It is good for foreigners to watch this to learn from our mistakes, and to see how we worked to correct them.
But most of all, it is good to watch this movie to remember a time of optimism when there was no problem too great that we could not solve if we worked together as reasonable people.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a great movie that deserves a place among the classics as long as people are around to watch movies.
This film took me by surprise, at first I wasn't quite sure what to expect. At the end of the movie, It evoked me to spend a good hour deep in thought about not only the situation in the movie, but how things were in our past and how things currently still are. This movie does a very very good job in its casting of characters. The acting in this film is well done and very believable, which I think is very important for such a film. The title is also witty, and a bit humorous. I think that this is a great example of the New Age of Hollywood. The director is using the film to get a point across. He artfully crafts the movie around a big social message, one that is extremely relevant during 1967. The inner conflict between white and black in America was absolutely huge, and I think that as a film maker, you have a voice that is way greater than that of any political leader. As a film maker, you have an unmatchable influence on the masses. In the case of this movie, I believe that the director does an absolutely wonderful job in stating his social message
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Now this movie? Made me laugh nonstop. I adored it. I would buy it and watch it over and over. Throughout the whole film you are routing for the couples happiness. Although the girl in the couple is very naive and seems a little childish at times you are excited for them. Each family had the same facial expressions and all I can say was that they were priceless. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Watching it, either alone or with a group of people, is great fun. The 180 degree rule applied in this movie a lot, but how could it not when there was so much dialog going back and forth? Overall, I think this is the best movie I have seen all semester and I only wish we could have watched it in class.
Imagine if you will the social climate in 1967 San Francisco. The Civil
Rights act was in effect but society was still wavering on total
acceptance of 'civil rights'. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner tested
society in its acceptance of true 'civil rights'. Spencer Tracy (Matt
Drayton) and Katharine Hepburn (Christina Drayton)were exceptional and
convincing as a modern, liberal accepting couple. This is tested when
their daughter Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton) arrives home with
her fiancé, Dr. John Prentice (Sidney Poitier). The Drayton's liberal
beliefs are tested as their future son-in-law is a Negro (term used in
film). Vital to the settings moral attitude of the 'church', Monsignor
Ryan (Cecil Ryan) shows is uplifting support for the Joanna and John.
Matt Drayton is not as supportive as his wife Christina. She sees the
romance he only sees problems for their future. Then, when the
Drayton's meet the Prentices the feelings are mutual. But nothing the
parents say is going to stop Joanna as she is either oblivious or just
doesn't care about any prejudices they may face.
The ideas and social controversy of this film is unfortunately still evident in our modern society. The film also brought into play the long time controversial relationship between Hepburn and Tracy. In Tracy's final speech about relationships and what's important you could feel his emotion and can tell it came from his own heart and when he looks at Katharine she tears up. I could feel the emotion and love between them. The camera angles are detrimental in capturing the emotions and reactions in each scene of each character. When Christina is sitting out on the patio with Joanna and John the camera zooming in on her face focus' us on her reaction as well as pulling the viewer into her character. Another example where the camera angle was so important was at the end when Matt is walking on the patio thinking about his decision concerning Joanna and John's relationship. He stops under the tree, camera zooms in close on his face only, this draws you into his emotions at that very moment, and then he says, "I'll be a son of a bitch", turns around and goes into the living room and delivers this wonderful speech about relationships and love. Absolutely breathtaking!
This was the last wonderful performance by Spencer Tracy and the last film by the great duo of Tracy and Hepburn. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a classic and a must see film for all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is a drama/romance film that was
released in1967. This film carried a strong cast, including Katharine
Hepburn as Christina Drayton, Sidney Poitier as John Prentice,
Katharine Houghton as Joey Drayton, and Spencer Tracy as Matt Drayton.
This was the last film that Spencer Tracy made. Stanley Kramer served
as director and producer along with George Glass, the screenplay was
written by William Rose, and the film was edited by Robert C. Jones.
The film was nominated for 10 Oscars, and won two for Best actress in a
leading role, and for best written screenplay.
The plot: While on vacation in Hawaii Joey Drayton meets, and falls in love with John Prentice. John is an Africa American doctor who is at the top of his field. Joey Drayton is a white female whose liberal father (Tracy) owns a newspaper company in San Francisco. The couple fell for each other so quickly and strongly that they decide to get married. Following the engagement Joey brings John to her parent's house for dinner, and to deliver the news of the engagement. This is when the drama begins.
This film's theme challenges the social taboo of interracial marriages. During production, it was illegal for people of different races to get married in fourteen states. While not as relevant today, it was a controversial issue in the 1960's. Joey has brought John home, and with each person she introduces him to, we see how people react to the engagement, some bad and some good. The film represents how some people are stuck in the past, how some people envision a better future, and how some people are flat out racist. The film takes a beautiful twist, when a "love conquers all" theme becomes present. It reminds us of when we first fell in love with our spouses, how we started out with nothing, faced adversity, stuck together through the hard times, and finished with a love that was just as strong as it was in the beginning.
"Father you see yourself as a colored man, and I see myself as a man", is one of the most powerful quotes from the film. John is confronted by his father on why he is marrying a white girl. His father believes in the ways of the past, that each race should stay within its own race. However John visions a better future. He knows that acting in the ways of the past will do no good towards the struggle for equality in the future.
This film received a loose remake in 2005 with "Guess Who". This film featured Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher and Zoe Saldana. In this film the roles were switched, with Zoe Saldana an African American bringing home her white boyfriend Ashton Kutcher. With the racial theme not as relevant as it was in the 1960s, the film took a comical spin, and lost it's since of drama.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The acting was superb. It has inspired me to watch more films my Sidney Poitier, such as "In the Heat of the Night" and by Spencer Tracy, such as "Captain Courageous". The film did not include and violence, sex or special effects, but still kept my attention from beginning to end. The language was mild, so I was able to watch it with my kids. However the subject matter is over their heads. For those planning on watching this film, and believe that this film is outdated, think about this. Think of the movement for gay rights. Think of the states that allow and do not allow same sex marriage. For those who want to know more history on the interracial marriage issue, look into Loving v. Virginia.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner was groundbreaking for its positive
representation of the controversial subject of interracial marriage,
which historically had been illegal in most states of the United
States, and was still illegal in 17 states, mostly Southern states, up
until the year of the film's release in 1967, when anti-miscegenation
laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in Loving v.
Virginia.Hollywood's first serious film about interracial marriage
features Spencer Tracy,Sidney Poitier,Katharine Hepburn and Katharine
Houghton on her screen debut together with Cecil Kellaway,Beah Richards
and Roy E. Glenn.It was written by William Rose and directed by Stanley
Old-line liberals Matt and Christina Drayton have raised their daughter Joey to think for herself and not blindly conform to the conventional. Still, they aren't prepared for the shock when she returns home from a vacation with a new fiancé: African-American doctor John Prentice. While they come to grips with whatever prejudices they might still harbor, the younger folks must also contend with John's parents, who are dead-set against the union. To complicate matters, the older couple's disapproving maid and Christina's bigoted business associate put in their two cents' worth with regards to the marriage. While Joey is determined to go ahead with the wedding no matter what people think, John refuses to consider marriage until he receives the unqualified approval of all concerned.
Despite the subject which was relevant during its time of release,the movie certainly would be outdated in terms of how it was made.It was talky and verbose which is a trademark of Kramer's direction.Aside from that,it also drags that it may bore viewers at present time.But those were negated by the brilliant performances of the cast.The closing monologue delivered by Spencer Tracy turned out to be the last scene ever played by the veteran film luminary.While Katharine Hepburn surely deserved the Oscar she won in this film.Special mention should also be given to Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton. Added to that,the subject matter on interracial marriage was dealt with perception, depth, insight, humor and feeling.Overall,it should be considered a landmark movie on tolerance and mixed marriage.
|Page 11 of 26:||               |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||External reviews||Parents Guide|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|