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February 15, 2016

Movie Review: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - Columbia Pictures(1967)

Stanley Kramer directs this film about an interracial couple who are breaking the news of their marriage to their parents.  This film was released in 1967 and the way of the world within the United States was different than it is now.  This is a film that has seen it's share of remakes but nothing comes close to this classic.

Sydney Poitier plays the part of Dr. John Wade Prentice who wishes to marry Joanne Drayton(Katherine Houghton).  Their on screen chemistry is absolutely wonderful.  They played off of each other in a way that made you believe that, while in love, they knew to be a certain way around others.  Poitier's character was nervous about the racial situation while the younger Drayton was surprised that anyone would take issue.

Much of the dialogue took some getting used to.  The racial terms used in 1967 are not the same as we use today.  It was not as if anything was meant by the terms, other than to be descriptive of the particular race.

Katherine Hepburn plays the mother of the would-be bride and really keeps this movie going as she is the voice of reason in the world.  She sees how happy her daughter is with Dr. Prentice and realizes that is what is most important.  Spencer Tracy's character grew the most within this film.  Playing the part of Joanne Drayton's father, he wasn't too keen on the idea of the young couple but at the end when he delivers his speech to the entire family, you see how fantastic he is as an actor.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a classic film worth viewing.  Being filmed during a time when sixteen states did not allow interracial characters, this film was a huge risk.  It was a pleasure to see and it's wonderful how far we've come as a society.

Columbia Pictures re-released Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in 2015 on blu-ray under the Twilight Time label.  Extras include introductions by Karen Kramer, Steven Spielberg, Tom Brokaw and Quincy Jones; multiple mini-docs that talk about what went into the making of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and the sacrifices made to make this film happen.  

I also blog for Maskerpiece Theatre which is sponsored by MoviePass. See unlimited movies at a theater near you for a low monthly rate.

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