Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (PG)
D: Stanley Kramer
Columbia (Stanley Kramer)
USA 🇺🇸 1967
W: William Rose
DP: Sam Leavitt
Ed: Robert C. Jones
Mus: Frank DeVol
PD: Robert Clatworthy
Cos: Jean Louis & Joe King
Spencer Tracy (Matt Drayton), Katharine Hepburn (Christina Drayton), Sidney Poitier (John Prentice), Katharine Houghton (Joey Drayton), Cecil Kellaway (Monsignor Ryan), Roy E. Glenn, Sr. (Mr. Prentice), Beah Richards (Mrs. Prentiss), Isabel Sanford (Tillie)
Critically acclaimed on it's original release but is a melodramatic dirge by today's standards. Would've worked much better as a stage play but not with this script!
The main plot sees the immature, presumptuous, whimsical spoilt princess Joey Drayton bring home her fiancé to meet her parents. Here's the clincher... It's Sidney Poitier, a literate professional doctor from a respectful upbringing, but Hey! Because he's black this film says something about racial acceptance and issues concerning mixed race relationships.
Utter tripe! Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn as the WASP Drayton parents are taken aback by having this man in their home, but who wouldn't be with the news that their daughter is calling all the shots over who they'll be entertaining in their own home unannounced and that she's marrying a man whom she's known little more than a week.
The racial issues are all cosmetic here. This is more a commentary on a generation gap and is nowhere near as powerful as it could've been or should've been. There is no real prejudice or bigotry from Katherine Hepburn or Spencer Tracy's characters, especially not in comparison to Rod Steiger's turn in In The Heat Of The Night also released the same year.
There's also a lot of unrealistic incidental characters who drift in and out (the dancing delivery boy, for example) for no reason whatsoever other than to provide some ham-fisted comic relief and the only real prejudice and bigotry comes from Isabel Sanford as the housemaid who takes offence at a black man being a doctor with no particular reason why. More resistance is met from the older Mr. Prentiss, again though this is little to do with race but more to do with the tenet of his generation.
The majority of the acting, however, can't be faulted. Spencer Tracy looks very tired and drawn-out in his final performance, squirming and sweating out a performance incredibly well through all the pap & Katharine Hepburn's performance sees her blithely resolute, dewey-eyed and as magnanimous as her usual work but it wasn't quite good enough to get a Best Actress Oscar (especially over Anne Bancroft in The Graduate).
As a window into the attitudes of the time it serves its purpose reasonably well, but I certainly wouldn't watch it again.