Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
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The movie concerns Joanna Drayton, a young white American woman (Houghton) and a man with whom she's had a whirlwind romance, Dr. Prentice (Poitier), an African American she met while on a holiday in Hawaii. As the movie opens, they're at the San Francisco Airport preparing to tell her parents, Matthew (Tracy) and Christine (Hepburn) Dayton their plans: to marry and live in Switzerland.

Kramer and Rose intentionally debunked ethnic stereotypes; the young doctor was purposely created idealistically perfect so that the only possible objection to his marrying Joanna would be his race, or the fact she only met him nine days earlier. He has graduated from a top school, begun innovative medical initiatives in Africa, refused to have premarital sex with his fiance despite her request, and leaves money on his future father-in-law's desk in payment for a long distance phone call he has made.

The plot is centered on Joanna's return to her liberal upper class home overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Her mother, while surprised, is supportive from the beginning, but her father isn't buying the marriage. He is joined in his concerns by the family retainer Tillie (Sanford) and the young Doctor's father (Glenn), a retired postal worker who flies up to Los Angeles for dinner.

The action builds to a stirring speech by the father (the last by Tracy on film) in which Matthew Drayton comes to grips with the differences between his daughter and his future son-in-law and makes clear that what others think of the marriage of Joanna and Prentice means nothing, all that matters is that the two young people love each other and that the real crime would be if they allowed outside criticism to deny them their mutual love.

His words move his wife to tears, and after allowing the weight of his words to sink in, Matthew breaks the ice by demanding to know when dinner will be served.
Page last updated by stp43, 1 year ago
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