Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
Company: Twilight Time
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards
My Review and Thoughts:
Everything has already been said that needs to be said about this wonderful, classic film. This is one of those films you often return to, express, or talk about. It shocks me that this has never been given a Blu-ray before here in America at least, but thankfully this has been brought out on a splendid, beautiful transfer. This film has never looked any better. Twilight Time has given a wonderful new outlet to this classic film.
This 1967 gem was directed by a brilliant director, Stanley Kramer. Written by an equally brilliant man William Rose. Both combined talent alongside the actors, and actresses create a film that never grows old, or loses its appeal, and ultimate message. Kramer was a producer and director of many solid films that left their lasting mark in cinema history. From the masterpieces of Inherit the Wind and Judgement at Nuremburg, to the brilliance of The Defiant Ones, and On the Beach. Kramer had a truly remarkable talent at directing. Also both Inherit the Wind, and Judgement at Nuremberg has also been honored on Twilight Time Blu-ray, you can read my reviews for them here: Inherit the Wind --- Judgement at Nuremberg. Kramer was a master talent, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is one of those mastery’s, he was known for.
The plot seems simple yet for its time, it was very complex, and has an emotional reality of persons thinking in that time period. Your main character, Dr. John Wayde Prentice Jr, played by Poitier is an African American. He is in love with Joanna “Joey” Drayton. Who happens to be a white girl? Her dad and mother are treated to their presence for dinner. Prentice and Joey are in love. Daddy and Mom are liberal, and believe in racial equality and has always taught Joey that way. To Joey’s surprise her parents are not happy about her choice of marrying a black man. Through a dinner sit down, all must come to terms with the reality that has now come to the front. What is so amazing about this reality is Prentice is everything they wanted for their daughter, a Doctor with a job, well maintained, no sex before marriage, but one little itch is bothering them, he is black. What’s so great about this idea is the plot has taken away everything that parents look for in whoever their kid is marrying. Prentice is perfect in the sense, that in the old reality of court ship, he is perfect. So Joey does not understand her parent’s reality when they themselves taught her to accept everyone. That is the brilliance of this film, and the reason it is so important today as it was when it first came out. You would think living in 2015, we would be over the whole race thing, but sadly all one has to do is turn on the TV, and witness the same bigotry and garbage, and asinine persons hating another because of race, sexual orientation, and so on. It’s truly sad we still live in a hateful world. That is why Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is still important, and is still amazing through its story-line.
Starring one of the greatest actors of all time, the legend, the Hollywood icon, Sidney Poitier, alongside one of the most beautiful, and master legends of acting Katherine Hepburn. Also the truly one of a kind Spencer Tracy. Hepburn and Tracy had acted together so many times. Sadly, Tracy passed away shortly after this film in 1967. Tracy left a career of extraordinary accomplishment. Tracy is, and will always be looked at by me as being the very essence of stardom. All three, Sidney, Katharine and Tracy is what movie making is all about. Also starring Kathrine Hepburn’s niece, Katharine Houghton, in the major female lead, Sidney’s love interest Joey Drayton. This was Houghton’s first feature length film. Katharine Hepburn had recommended her for the part. It was kind of unheard of considering she had only ever acted in two other TV programs. It must have been truly amazing to start, starring in a film with such big names. She also like all the legends in the film, acted amazingly. Her career really did not go anywhere, but she has popped up here and there in films and TV. Most recently in the movie 2010’s The Last Airbender, playing the part of Katara’s Grandma. The whole cast works together to create this memorable piece of film that stands the test of time, as being, thoughtful, comical, and brings forth an important message.
Interesting to note, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was also made into a TV movie in 1975, and directed by Stanley Kramer, why this was done, I will never know, because it has no reality to compare to the original. The plot has also been used countless times and reworked in other films, yet just destroying the concept of the importance of this film. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a one of a kind film with solid acting, direction and story.
This comedy drama, made a point. It had a message. This day and age people might not grasp the importance of the subject matter. Times have changed, (somewhat), but when this first came out, showcasing a subject that many still thought was wrong. A black man with a white woman. Hell even in this day and age there are still asinine persons with those beliefs. People must realize that even in 1967 when this film came out, 17 States in the United States of America, it was illegal for interracial marriage. So you can imagine the controversy that this film detailed.
I think what many people don’t know about the making of this film is Spencer Tracy’s health. He was in very bad shape during the making of the film. Most all of his dialogue was filmed with stand in’s so that Tracy could have a select time period to do it, and then rest. Many shots Tracy was not even talking to the actors, just basic persons to give the illusion that he was talking to the other actors. His heath was sadly so bad he passed away before even getting to see the final product.
Twilight Time has done it again in picking and bringing out an important film on blu-ray. A passionate film of importance on a Blu-ray disc of perfection.
This has never looked any better. Twilight Time did a fantastic job, creating a new outlet for this old film. So vibrant and beautiful. Crisp to image. The sound is equally fascinating and top notch to hear. The movie has never look or sounded any better. High class. Grade A perfection.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
You get a lot of wonderful extras that is worth the buy just for them.
The wonderful isolated music score. This is a wonderful treat considering Frank De Vol was behind it. He was a master of music. A pure composer, and even an actor. All one has to do is look at his composing for such films as the intense masterpiece, 1962’s Whatever happened to Baby Jane, to Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Dirty Dozen, and countless others including TV series. He was a talented musician that stood out. Working from the early 50’s all the way to the 90’s. He acted in many TV series from Get Smart to Bonanza, I Dream of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, Diff’rent Strokes, The Jeffersons, Charles in Charge and many others. Something he is most famous for is supplying TV theme tunes, many of those very recognizable such as The Brady Bunch theme, and My Three Sons. From acting, composing and working in the music department, he was a talented soul that knew the art form of music. His talent would garner four Academy Award Nominations for his work and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is one of them.
Audio Commentary with Film Historians Eddy Friedfeld, Lee Pfeiffer, and Paul Scrabo. An awesome listen. A wonderful listen for those who love this film.
Introductions by Karen Kramer, Steven Spielberg, Tom Brokaw, and Quincy Jones. I really thought this was amazing. Each one offers little remarks about the film, giving this special feature an excellent reality.
A Love Story for Today. This almost comes in at a running time of 30 minutes. It’s a great program on the production of the film. Also informative information on many of those involved with the film. This is a very well done retrospect.
A Special Kind of Love. Coming in on a running time of a little over 17 minutes. This program I absolutely loved. You get some great archival footage of Hepburn. Also an interview with Houghton which was a treat listening to her talk about Hepburn.
Stanley Kramer: A Man’s Search for Truth. Running a little over 16 minutes. This is a great short program about the director himself, and his amazing vision and imagery in the film world.
Stanley Kramer Accepts the Irving Thalberg Award. This short has a running time of 2 minutes.
2007 Producers Guild Stanley Kramer Award Presentation to An Inconvenient Truth. This is a running of almost 5 minutes.
Original Theatrical Trailer
Solid Blu-ray. Amazing special features. A must own, and must experience transfer of this classic film onto a new, beautiful blu-ray that only Twilight Time could do. Amazing is all I can say. Highly, Highly, Highly Recommended.
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