Well folks, I’m up to my fifth movie review for “Random Movies Month” to be featured on Monty and Desiree’s website, so today I have decided to do something special by reviewing a movie that remains very dear to my heart, and which also happens to be one of the first classic films I seen. “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”. The final collaboration of the nine Tracy and Hepburn vehicles.
In their final film together, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn are fireworks in this romantic comedy drama about mixed marriage. The film tells the story of Christina and Matt Drayton ( Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy ) San Francisco parents of a twenty three year old daughter Joanna, Joey Drayton, played by Katharine’s real life niece, Katharine Houghton. During a vacation in Hawaii, Joey meets and falls in love with John Prentice ( Sidney Poitier ), who happens to be black. Upon returning home from Hawaii, Joey takes John home with her to meet her parents, where she surprisingly announces that she’s going to be married. Christina and Matt are aghast and never thought that such thing would happen. Joey thinks that her parents will approve of the marriage as she has hailed from a fighting Liberal family and was always taught not to discriminate against colored people. However John states to Christina and Matt that if they don’t approve of their getting married he will withdrawal from the engagement. To further complicate matters they only have less than twenty four hours to decide if they approbate of the marriage because John is flying to Geneva that night for work. In the meantime John’s parents, who are aware of their sons new girl, but still incognizant of their situation call John to say that they are flying to San Francisco that night to take John and Joey out to dinner. With this opportunity Joey invites them to their place for dinner and they accept the invitation not knowing the opposition that’s ahead of them. When the two family’s unite provocation amalgamates, which leaves them in a dilemma. Christina and John’s mother is approving of the marriage, but Matt and John’s father deprecates of the idea. Together they must arbitrate what is going to happen.
Forty seven years later “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” still stands the test of time. It’s a true masterpiece, and in my opinion one of the best movies ever made. It’s superbly crafted with commendable performances by all. Katharine Hepburn received her second Oscar for her vivacious portrayal of Christina Drayton and Spencer Tracy garnered an Oscar nomination for best actor.
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner also marks the final chapter of Spencer Tracy’s life. This was his final film. During production Spencer was gravely ill. Sadly he passed away seventeen days after filming wrapped up.
This movie also showcases Spencer’s acting ability and really epitomizes what a brilliant actor he was. He was in the concluding stage of his life and still delivered a first rate performance, most notably in the final scene where Spencer is giving that powerful speech, and relaying how they feel about one another. In truth, Kate and Spencer were not really acting in this scene. Spencer was really elucidating his love for Kate, and Kate’s tears were real. She was crying for Spencer. She knew that Spencer was dying and that this was to be his final film. It’s true to say that that speech was really about them. Katharine as always deposited a fine performance and once again disseminated her acting talents.
I’ve always been avid fans of both Kate and Spencer, and as much as I’m very fond of all there movies “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” would have to be my favorite. It holds a special place in my heart for so many reasons, not only for the fact that it’s Tracy and Hepburn, but for the reason that it’s one of the very first classic films I ever seen, and Katharine Hepburn was one of the actresses that helped establish my love for classic Hollywood.
Quotes from film:
Christina Drayton: [to her assistant, Hilary, in the driveway] “Now I have some instructions for you. I want you to go straight back to the gallery – Start your motor – When you get to the gallery tell Jennifer that she will be looking after things temporarily, she’s to give me a ring if there’s anything she can’t deal with herself. Then go into the office, and make out a check, for “cash,” for the sum of $5,000. Then carefully, but carefully Hilary, remove absolutely everything that might subsequently remind me that you had ever been there, including that yellow thing with the blue bulbs which you have such an affection for. Then take the check, for $5,000, which I feel you deserve, and get – permanently – lost. It’s not that I don’t want to know you, Hilary – although I don’t – it’s just that I’m afraid we’re not really the sort of people that you can afford to be associated with.”
[Hilary opens her mouth to say something]
Christina Drayton: “Don’t speak, Hilary, just… go.”
Matt Drayton: “What the hell is it today? Less than 12% of the people in this city are colored people. I can’t even have a dish of Oregon Boosenberry without runnin’ into one of them.”
Joanna Drayton: “It never occurred to me that I would fall in love with a Negro, but I have, and nothing’s going to change that.”
Katharine Hepburn: Born Katharine Houghton Hepburn on May 12th, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut. Died: June 29th, 2003 in Fenwick, Connecticut.
Spencer Tracy: Born Spencer Bonaventure Tracy on April 5th, 1900 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Died: June 10th, 1967 in Beverly Hills, California. Note: On the night of Spencer’s death he got out of bed and proceeded into the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea. Katharine followed him but before she reached the kitchen she heard a loud thump on the floor and the shattering of glass. She ran in and found Spencer dead. She squatted down and nursed his head on her lap.
Sidney Poitier: Born February 20th, 1927 in Miami, Florida.
Katharine Houghton: Born Katharine Houghton Grant on March 10th, 1945. in Hartford, Connecticut. Katharine is the daughter of Kate’s sister Marion.