Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (1967)

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Released 12-Jul-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The Man From Laramie
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 103:43
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stanley Kramer
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Spencer Tracy
Sidney Poitier
Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Houghton
Cecil Kellaway
Beah Richards
Roy Glenn
Isabel Sanford
Virginia Christine
Alexandra Hay
Barbara Randolph
D'Urville Martin
Tom Heaton
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Frank De Vol
Billy Hill


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 3.0 L-C-R (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Guess Who's Coming To Dinner is a very well known film for a number of reasons. It deals with the difficult issue (certainly for 1967) of inter-racial marriage, stars three Academy Award winners for acting, won two Academy Awards itself (of 10 nominations) and was also the last film of screen great Spencer Tracy who died shortly after the film was made. If all of this wasn't enough it is also an entertaining and well-made film which approaches its difficult subject matter with a great lightness of touch.

    The story concerns a young white girl, Joey Drayton (Katharine Houghton, who is the daughter of Katharine Hepburn's younger sister), who while on holiday in Hawaii meets and falls in love with an older widower. They decide to fly back to San Francisco and surprise her parents, Matt Drayton (Spencer Tracy) and Christina (Katharine Hepburn) with the news. The biggest surprise though is that the older widower is black and also an internationally renowned doctor, John Wade Prentice (Sidney Poitier). Despite Joey's conviction that her parents are very liberal and will have no problems with the marriage, their initial reaction is shock and concern. As the evening progresses, Prentice's parents also arrive and their reaction is very similar. All of the parents then need to consider how their responses will affect their relationships with their children, and whether their views are based on reasonable concerns or prejudice. Also in the picture are a family friend of the Draytons, Monsignor Mike Ryan (Cecil Kellaway) and their long time housekeeper Tillie (Isabel Sanford), both of whom make their opinions on the matter known.

    This is a very theatrical film, mostly based around one set and is very dialogue driven, however it was written directly for the screen by William Rose. It was directed by Stanley Kramer. The acting, as you would expect, is of top quality. The speech from Spencer Tracy which finishes the film was a highlight for me as was the interplay between him and Katharine Hepburn. Besides the comments this film makes about racial prejudice in all its forms, there are also some interesting comments about people who espouse liberal views until something effects them directly. Obviously the specific subject of inter-racial marriage is less of an issue now than then, but racial prejudice is still an issue. More dated is the music by De Vol which is basically the theme song The Glory of Love in a myriad of slightly different versions. It is music of the time the film was made in 1967 and just seems a bit silly in the context now. Bizarrely, this excellent film has just been remade with Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher of all people!

    All in all, a film with a lot of great ingredients despite the specific subject being slightly dated. Obviously, the general subject of racial prejudice is very relevant today.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which very close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout with the exception of close-ups of Katharine Hepburn which had a distinct softness to them. The difference in treatment was very evident when she had a scene with a woman of similar vintage. Every shot of Hepburn was soft and you saw every line on the other woman's face. Obviously, this is a question of the source material rather than the transfer. There was also some very light grain. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very good although not used very often.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    The only noticeable artefacts were film artefacts including quite a few black spots and lines during the opening credits and a few white spots during the movie.

    There are subtitles in 21 languages including English. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but summarised from the spoken word.

    There is no layer change.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good but basically mono.

    This DVD contains five audio options, an English Dolby Digital 3.0 (L-C-R) soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s and Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtracks encoded at 192 Kb/s in French, German, Italian & Spanish. The English track sounds pretty much like the original mono, although obviously all three front speakers were used.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by DeVol is the most dated thing about the film.

    The surround speakers were not used, however my amp's bass management made the subwoofer occasionally add some bass to the dire score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu was simple, silent and still.

Theatrical Trailer (2:37)

    Presented non 16x9 enhanced. A good quality trailer which portrays the drama of the situation.

Trailers for Mr Smith Goes to Washington & The Man From Laramie

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The versions in other regions are essentially the same except for PAL/NTSC differences.

Summary

    An enjoyable hour and a half in the company of three great actors, despite the dated nature of the core issue and the score.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The set has only the trailer as an extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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