Attitudes towards a mixed race marriage in 1960s California come under the microscope as Joey Drayton (Katharine Houghton – The Last Airbender, Kinsey) introduces her husband-to-be to her parents following a whirlwind holiday romance. They are taken aback by the unannounced arrival of Joey and Dr John Prentice (Sidney Poitier – To Sir With Love, The Defiant Ones), a situation made even more uncertain with the invitation to his parents to dinner.
Important for its time (1967), highlighted by attracting Spencer Tracy (in his last role) and Katherine Hepburn as the Drayton parents, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner comes across as stilted and uncomfortable. Each of the six central characters (along with the ‘know-your-place’ cook/help, Tillie – Isabel Sanford, Lady Sings the Blues, TV’s The Jeffersons) have their sanctimonious say in a feature directed by Stanley Kramer (On the Beach, Judgement at Nuremberg). It undoubtedly meant well but this verbose, stagey narrative of a social commentary is ultimately something of an insipid dramedy.
Nominated for 10 Oscars in 1968 including best film, director, actor (Tracy), supporting actor (Cecil Kelloway), suporting actress (Beah Richards), won 2 for best actress (Hepburn) and original screenplay (William Rose).