Friday, November 25, 2011

Weekend Cinema Spotlight: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967)

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and being grateful and appreciative, I selected "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" as my Weekend Cinema Spotlight. Thanksgiving is about remembering what you are thankful for but also about sharing a meal with those you love and care for.

This film has an all-star cast starting with the late and greats---Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. They play a married couple named Matt and Christina Drayton. In real life, they were lovers and partners for over twenty-seven years. Their relationship was kept very private because the very religious Tracy was already married and did not desire to seek a divorce-which was very scandalous at the time.

It also stars the ever so talented Sidney Poitier (Dr. John Prentice), whose film "To Sir, With Love" was featured as my very first cinema spotlight. As well as Katharine Houghton who just happens to be Katherine Hepburn's real-life niece!!! She plays the positive-thinking and exuberant Joanna "Joey" Drayton.

"Guess Who's Coming Dinner" Trailer

It's a story that can still resonates in today's society. For me, this film is perfect-to remake this would be an injustice and mainly because it was cast with the best of Hollywood and also because of the times it was set in.

Joey falls in love with Dr. Prentice and brings him to meet her parents before they leave for Switzerland where he has a job waiting for him and where they plan to wed. What ensues afterwards makes your heart pound faster, makes you think about your own prejudices, and also makes you wonder what would you do in Matt and Christina's place?

It was perfectly cast and Stanley Kramer who directed and produced this film bended real-life issues with real-life emotions. It was so incredibly played out and flowed realistically even though the idea of falling in love in just ten days doesn't sound so realistic. The way the story was written (William Rose) just leaves the person watching the film in awe. It truly is a masterpiece.

Famous monologue by Spencer Tracy

This was Spencer Tracy's final film. He passed on just two weeks after it was completed. Everyone involved with the film knew he was ill and the director along with the cast worked around his schedule. He primarily worked from 9am to 12pm and they filmed his parts at the beginning of production not knowing if he would be well to complete it. Hepburn refused to watch the film even many years later because it was too hard for her to watch. She did winn the Academy Award for Best Actress for this film.

Tracy's performance was utter perfection. I believe everyone involved with this film rose to the occasion and gave it all they had. In the end it was and still is a prolific piece of art.


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