Friday, March 28, 2008

Gratuitous Movie Review

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - 1967 was a very different year. The subject of interracial couples was shocking, and actually it was illegal in some states for interracial couples to marry. It was in 1967 that the Supreme Court ruled on the issue in Loving v. Virginia, concluding that Virginia’s miscegenation laws were unconstitutional.

In that movie, Dr. John Wade Prentice (played by Sydney Poitier), falls in love with, and decides to marry Joanna (Joey) Drayton (played by Kathrine Houghton - Kathrine Hepburn's niece). With Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy playing the parents, it is pretty predictable, but wonderful nonetheless. (It was Spencer Tracy's last film.) Seeing three Academy Award Winners together is great. Seeing the racial tension and divide of 1967 is fascinating.

There is a line where Sydney Poitier talking to Spencer Tracy says Joanna believes that their children could grow up to be President of the United States, but that he would settle for Secretary of State. It was meant to be ironic. Funny how times change, isn't it?

There are some wonderful moments in this film, both funny and moving, but it is worth seeing for the 8 minute monologue Spencer Tracy delivers at the end of the film on the subject of love. (OK, it isn't quite a monologue - 2 characters get short lines in the 8 minutes.) I haven't seen the farcical remake they did a few years ago, and I don't want to. The original is a classic. Hepburn and Tracy don't disappoint, and Poitier is superb. You should see it.

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