Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) starring Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier
Synopsis of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
In Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy star as white liberal parents perplexed about their daughter’s engagement to a black doctor.
Dad… Dad, you’re my father. I’m your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man. Now, I’ve got a decision to make, hm? And I’ve got to make it alone, and I gotta make it in a hurry.John Prentice (Sidney Poitier)
In a sense, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner all comes down to that quote. First of all, a young couple has fallen in love. An accomplished black doctor, and a young white woman. And they’re going to be married. And it shakes the world of their parents. It is stressful enough for your daughter to show up after a two-week vacation…. And she announces her engagement. To a man you’ve never heard of. Then, throw in the interracial aspect, and the stress increases geometrically.
So, will her liberal parents approve? Then, what about his parents? Meanwhile, all of the other people in the families’ circles are affected as well.
In conclusion, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is a wonderful movie. At its’ heart, it’s about a young couple in love.
“But you’re two wonderful people who happened to fall in love and happened to have a pigmentation problem, and I think that now, no matter what kind of a case some bastard could make against your getting married, there would be only one thing worse, and that would be if – knowing what you two are and knowing what you two have and knowing what you two feel- you didn’t get married. Well, Tillie, when the hell are we gonna get some dinner?”Matt Drayton (Spencer Tracy)
- Spencer Tracy (It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World) … Matt Drayton. The liberal newspaper publisher, who’s principles are tested. He believes in equality for all. But then his only daughter surprises him with her engagement, and impending marriage, to a black doctor.
- Sidney Poitier (Lilies of the Field) … John Prentice. The handsome, young, charismatic black doctor. He’s extremely accomplished. As well as truly in love with Joey, after a whirlwind courtship. A kind, likable man.
- Katharine Hepburn (Stage Door, Bringing Up Baby) … Christina Drayton. The society woman and art gallery owner. She, along with her husband, has to deal with the unexpected engagement. She has to decide if she really believes what she always thought she believed. To her credit …. She does. And becomes a champion for the engaged couple.
- Katharine Houghton … Joey Drayton. The attractive young lady, who’s fallen in love with John. She’s engaged, about to be married, and leave with him. She doesn’t see what the fuss is. And, she’s right. Given how her parents raised her, it makes perfect sense from her perspective.
- Cecil Kellaway (Harvey, I Married a Witch) … Monsignor Ryan. Religious figure, honorary uncle to Joey, and sounding board for Christina. Family friend, and important to the movie.
- Beah Richards (In the Heat of the Night) … Mrs. Prentice. John’s mother, who’s quite flustered by his surprise engagement.
- Roy Glenn (Escape from the Planet of the Apes) … Mr. Prentice. John’s father. He opposes a black man marrying a white girl. His conversation with his son is one of the highlights of the movie.
- Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons) … Tillie. The Drayton’s black maid. She’s also opposes the idea of a black man marrying a white girl. And, stressed at having to throw together a large, fancy meal at a moment’s notice.
- Virginia Christine (The Mummy’s Curse) … Hilary St. George. One of Christina’s best friends. She reveals her bigotry, and Christina fires her on the spot. Good for her!
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn (who won the Academy Award(r) for Best Actress for her performance) are unforgettable as perplexed parents in this landmark 1967 movie about mixed marriage. Joanna (Katharine Houghton), the beautiful daughter of crusading publisher Matthew Drayton (Tracy) and his patrician wife Christina (Hepburn), returns home with her new fiance John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), a distinguished black doctor. Christina accepts her daughter’s decision to marry John, but Matthew is shocked by this interracial union; the doctor’s parents are equally dismayed. Both families must sit down face to face and examine each other’s level of intolerance. In GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER,director Stanley Kramer has created a masterful study of society’s prejudices.