Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

“Of course, I aIways have believed that in that fighting liberaI facade, there must be some sort of reactionary bigot trying to get out.” — Monsignor Ryan

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner the story of a mixed race couple having their ostensibly liberal parents come to terms with their relationship over the course of one evening in the ’60s. It’s dated, for sure, but it’s iconic all the same.

None of the characters could be characterized as racist in 1967, except Hattie who gets an earful from Hepburn in the clip below. Every one of the characters, except for the couple, would be characterized as racist in 2010.

My immediate thought was that someone should do a remake where the kid brings home a gay partner, and watch the fighting liberal parents come to terms with it.

But there are two problems with that:

  1. In 2010, it’s hard to play the theme as serious drama. Probably why the Kutcher/Bernie-Mac remake Guess Who is a comedy.
  2. I just remembered- somebody already made that movie, and it’s fantastic. It’s Birdcage.

I could talk about how you should see this movie, but you can figure that out for yourself. I wanted to focus on two of the three scenes that define the movie for me.

First, we have Katherine Hepburn, in one of the most epic telling-offs in cinema (the good part starts at about 0:50s):

And then we have a positively ShahRukhian scene from Sidney Poitier. The range of acting in this scene is more than most actors display in a life time (the good part starts at 1:30s):

And I mean ShahRukhian as a compliment.


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