Times change, stories evolve, traditions are shaken and perhaps shattered, relevant commentaries are made on the times we live in. Take the framing device of an independent-minded white girl bringing home her romantic partner, a smart, charismatic African American man of skilled accomplishments and bright outlook, to meet her liberal, loving mother and father at their beautiful, well-appointed home to what will hopefully be a good-humored atmosphere of gracious acceptance following a perhaps brief period of wary appraisal of their “situation.” The 2017 version of this story, debuting writer-director Jordan Peele’s deliciously subversive and harrowingly fun fable unmasking the shaky truce between races in today’s America, bearing the emphatic title Get Out, became a box-office sensation and lightning-rod conversation generator. As the year draws to an end, it’s a player on 10 Best Lists and in awards consideration. The 1967 iteration of this story, created by filmmaking veterans Stanley Kramer (producer/director) and William Rose, was coyly named Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and upon its national opening 50 years ago today, also proved a surprise popular success, got audiences and critics talking, and won two Academy Awards® (out of nine nominations) in a year, comparably cited like our present one as marked by transition in moviemaking tastes and consumption. (The movie is being offered nationwide as a special 50th-anniversary Fathom Events screening event tomorrow, Wednesday December 13.)
Weeks before Get Out’s breakout, Kramer’s widow Karen Sharpe-Kramer talked to the Los Angeles Times’ Jeffrey Fleishman about the storied history, production and legacy of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner; read it here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-ca-guess-dinner-anniversary-20170131-story.html. After Get Out’s sensational arrival, The Smackdown’s Arthur Tiersky offered a lively side-by-side comparison of a “spiritual forefather” to a wickedly witty descendant: http://www.moviesmackdown.com/2017/04/get-2017-vs-guess-whos-coming-dinner-1967/. Happily, the craft, dedication and sincerity of two diverse filmmaking generations complement and energize each other and Twilight Time’s lovely – and attractively bargain-priced – hi-def Blu-ray of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn (Oscar® winner), Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway (Oscar® nominee), Beah Richards (Oscar® nominee), Roy Glenn and Isabel Sanford, keeps this entertaining breakthrough classic in the dinner table conversation.