Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) Movie Review

Director: Stanley Kramer

Writer: William Rose (Screenplay)

Starring: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards, Roy Glenn

Plot: A couple’s attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Outstanding

Story: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner starts when Joey (Houghton) returns to San Francisco with her new fiancé Dr John Prentice (Poitier) to introduce him to her parents Matt (Tracy) and Christina (Hepburn), which seems to go well, but it is clear the parents are uncomfortable with her being with a black man.

As the mixed race couple go around the day, the parents are trying to deal with her choice, seeing how their own friends, family and clients react to the news, showing how they will support their daughter, no matter what happens to the reputation around town.

Thoughts on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Characters – Matt Drayton is the father of the family, while surprised by her daughter’s choice, he isn’t happy with his daughter’s choice, mostly because he is scared of what society would think of the mixed race couple, believing they will forced into facing their own problems in life, Christina Drayton is the mother that is also surprised, but delighted to see her daughter so happy, she will let the couple be together even if it means pushing people out of her life. Dr John Prentice, is the black man that Joey wants to marry, he has done incredible things around the world with his time, even if he has his own tragic story behind him, he is as concerned about meeting Joey’s parents as his own to meet her.

PerformancesWe have three of the greatest performers of all time in this film, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn show why they are the elite with their performances in this film too, with a supporting cast that includes Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards, Roy Glenn and Isabel Sanford being wonderful too.

StoryThe story here follows a new mix race couple that are happily in love, preparing to get married, only when they meet each other parent’s they will face new problems are seeing both sides not behind their relationship, needing to show their love with beat out any racial conversations. We have a story here that for the time of release, would have been a real conversation people had, while the racial divide had shrunk, people would still be left disapproving of certain things, including relationship between two. The way this story unfolds, is showing how the people involved are still doing marriage the correct way, while showing love can turn heads, change minds and make people happy, dealing with plenty of the everyday problems which shouldn’t be a problem.

SettingsThe film does use the setting, which is mostly the Drayton house, to show the privileged life that Joey has come from, which can reflect on her family’s mindsets.


Scene of the Movie – Matt’s speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nope.

Final Thoughts This is a brilliant drama that shows how racially relationships can bring a problem to people who were too shallow to accept changes, with some of the best performances in of the era.

Overall: Brilliant.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – Z – The Producers (1967)

This is under Z because of the star of the movie Zero Mostel

Director: Mel Brooks

Writer: Mel Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Estelle Winwood, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Lee Meredith

Plot: Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.


Tagline – Once upon a time there was a Broadway producer…who met a “creative” but timid accountant. Together they concocted the most outrageous $1,000,000 scheme in the annals of Show Biz.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Awkwardly Dated

Story: The Producers starts with Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Mostel) who was once one of the biggest producers around, now he is facing hard times and potential financial ruin, until his accountant Leo Bloom (Wilder) poses the idea of producing a flop play, while creating the funds that would see him pocketing the rest.

Max and Leo become producer partners, pick out the play to produce, one that is bound to fail and set up to make the play Springtime With Hitler, the two must go out to make sure the play flops so they can make out with the fortune they dreamed off.

Thoughts on The Producers

Characters – Max Bialystock was once one of the biggest producers on Broadway, he is facing financial ruin now, using his charm to trick older ladies into giving him money and uses his accountant to help make a fortune, he will always find a way to make things worse, as he is looking to produce the worst possible play. Leo Bloom is an honest accountant that believes you could make a fortune, by making a terrible play on Broadway, this does make him a producer even if he lacks the flair Max has to put the money behind the scheme. While most of the film circles around the pair, we do meet the German writer, the elaborate director and the new star of the play.

PerformancesZero Mostel does bring us a character that is truly in the mindset of the producer that we could see doing whatever he wants to get the money he wants, while Gene Wilder can turn a switch from clam to loud in an instant.

StoryThe story here follows to Broadway producers that go in search for the worst possible play in an attempt to make millions from the benefactors, which looks like a flawless plan. This is a story that does show how producers could do something illegal to make sure they get rich, which does see them push the limits of criminal actions. This is a story that does play into stereotypes that would be questioned a lot now, though part of that is meant to placed on the story being told.

Comedy/Music The comedy in the film does feel like it has dated in a way that would have worked at the time, but now the jokes would come off too offensive.

SettingsThe film does use the settings that you would see producers around, it shows how they would operate and how they would need to get onto the big stage.


Scene of the Movie – The intermission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The jokes don’t work anymore.

Final Thoughts This is a smart idea for a film, it is one that has seen the jokes date badly, though the concept is one that could only work in the era the film is set.

Overall: Classic but dated comedy.

James Bond Month – You Only Live Twice (1967)

Director: Lewis Gilbert

Writer: Roald Dahl (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsure Tanba, Teru Shumada, Karin Dor, Donald Pleasence

 

Plot: Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.


Tagline – You Only Live Twice…and “TWICE” is the only way to live!

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cheesy and Fun

 

Story: You Only Live Twice starts with James Bond (Connery) faking his death to take the heat off him, on his latest mission James is sent to Japan to investigate a missing America space rocket that was landed near Japan, joining with the Japanese intelligence agent Aki (Wakabayashi) who helps him navigate Tokyo.

Bond believing SPECTRE have returned and are behind the events, he starts looking at a small fishing island and with a limited time frame, can he uncover the truth before Russia or America set off on their next space mission?

 

Thoughts on You Only Live Twice

 

Characters – James Bond has been gaining a lot of heat from his missions, now he must fake his own death to go underground. His latest mission takes him to Japan where he must uncover the truth about mission rockets, he is the same womaniser we know this being his biggest weakness, however we do learn how skilled he is when he can jump into any vehicle and know how to operate it and handle himself in any fight. Aki is the Bond girl here, she helps him around Tokyo meeting his connections and turning up just in time to rescue him from danger. Kissy is the fake wife that James must take while searching the island, could easily be considered one of the Bond girls in the movie. Blofeld is the cat stroking leader of SPECTRE Bond suspects he is involved and this will be the first meeting between the two.

PerformancesSean Connery is still good in this role, we continues to make this role the iconic on we all know and remember. Donald Pleasence in his role becomes the most iconic of all the Bond villains which is what we need this far into the franchise. When it comes to the Bond girls we get the beautiful women that don’t get too much to do other than to look great next to Bond.

StoryThe story here follow James Bond on his latest mission after faking his death which takes him into battle against SPECTRE once again, by having a returning villainous threat is good for this franchise because we don’t need to keep establishing a new villain which does take time for any film, with the returning villain we can focus on Bond and just how difficult it is to keep his identity secret from the threats to the world. the story does follow the usual movements as we follow Bond meet allies, defeat enemies and save the world from potential world war three. This is one story that is the one I always remember with the final battle which happens to be my favourite for the whole franchise.

Action/AdventureThe action is mostly Bond battle enemies, be in hand to hand, helicopter to make shift helicopter, right down to the mass final battle which is one of the biggest in the franchise. The adventure does take Bond across the world again to Japan on his latest mission.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we always see Bond in new locations and this takes him to Japan, the amount of small islands there helps add mystery to everything which is all we want as fans of the franchise.


Scene of the Movie –
Base battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me She is sexiful, like this is a word.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of my favourite Bond films, it is one I grew up watching the most, it does have flaws but we can’t help that, otherwise this is one you can enjoy and gets better as we go along.

 

Overall: One of the most fun Bond films.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Q – Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Writer: Nigel Kneale (Screenplay)

Starring: James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover, Duncan Lamont, Bryan Marshall

 

Plot: A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called into to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.


Tagline – Force more powerful than 1,000 H-Bombs unleashed to devastate Earth! World in panic! Cities in flames!

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Filled Sci-Fi Horror

 

Story: Quatermass and the Pit starts when a construction team in London discovery dead bodies, which leads to Dr Roney (Donald), Professor Quatermass (Keir) and Colonel Breen (Glover) all being bought in to investigate the mysterious discovery, each with their own field of expertise for the unknown object.

Once inside there are only more questions to be asked and the strange effects happening to the people investigating adds to the mystery.

 

Thoughts on Quatermass and the Pit

 

Characters – Dr Mathew Roney is one of the team that is set to investigate the discovery, he takes and scientific approach to everything working with the historian to put the pieces together. Professor Bernard Quatermass brings the historical point of view to the table, wanting to study the discovery and using previous historical discoveries to help figure out the truth. Colonel Breen brings the military point of view often looking to use the quick answer over the smart answer. Barbara Judd is a reporter that is trying to put together a story for the public who believe this is an unexploded bomb.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast is great throughout, we believe the scientific figures, the military ones and the reporter looking for a story. the four main stars of the film know how to make the most of their scenes where their character needs to be the larger focus.

StoryThe story follows an object being discovered in London while digger to make the underground larger, we follow how the investigation to learn what this could be from different perspectives which shows how this would be handled in real life. We do have twists which comes from the discoveries going on, but for the most part this keeps things simple, with an air of mystery about what could be happening around the object.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror surrounding this movie comes from what could come from the object, it could bring horrific consequences, this plays into the mystery as we are left with the mystery behind what could be behind it. The sci-fi side of the film comes from the explanation to what could be behind the object and the potential of space being involved.

SettingsThe film is set in London and the underground, this is always a tight compact location which will add to suspense and horror in anything.

Special EffectsThis film was released in the 1960s, the special effects for the time were great, while we might look down on them now, it showed us just what was capable for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act which we are built up to nicely.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact they just look like grasshoppers and no one says this.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best hammer horror mystery sci-fi horror films out there, it keeps you guessing before letting everything out in the final act instead of giving away too much too early.

 

Overall: Must watch Hammer Horror

Rating

 

 

El Dorado (1967)

Director: Howard Hawks

Writer: Leigh Brackett (Screenplay) Harry Brown (Novel)

Starring: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix, Arthur Hunnicutt, Michele Carey

 

Plot: Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.


Tagline – Range War! A lawless time when no man dares turn his back… even to a friend!

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Western

 

Story: El Dorado starts when Sheriff Harrah (Mitchum) turns to his former gunslinger partner Cole Thornton (Wayne) for assistance against a ruthless rancher Bart Jason (Asner) who wants to force another rancher off their land.

Cole meets a young man Mississippi (Caan) that proves he can handle himself in a fight, which sees him continue to build a team to take down Bart Jason once and for all.

 

Thoughts on El Dorado

 

Characters – Cole Thornton is the gunslinger for hire, he doesn’t mind which side of the law he works as long as he gets paid, his loyalty comes back to show that sometimes he doesn’t get bought, when his old friend comes asking for help, he will help people he does believe are getting into trouble for the right reasons and will fight for the people next to the people he trusts the most. Sheriff J.P. Harrah turns to his old friend for help, only to see him turn to the bottle after failing to help on the levels he most requires. Mississippi is the young bounty hunter that is deadly with a knife, he will need to use a gun if he is to work with Cole, who he wants to learn from.

PerformancesJohn Wayne is one of the most famous actors for westerns, he really is a commanding presence on screen even if he doesn’t always hit up the most realistic acting. Robert Mitchum gives us a performance that gets laughs at time and easily goes through the biggest arc through the film. James Caan does well when he gets his time to shine, though he does get overshadowed in places.

StoryThe story follows two men from either sides of the law that team up to take down a rancher and his men that are causing problems in the town. When it comes to westerns nearly every single story is the same, the law makers and reluctant gun for hire joins forces to take on a troublesome group of ranchers or outlaws or something, this is everything we have seen before without needing to offer anything new to the mix. We get a time jump which does come randomly which does disappoint too. We do have a mentor like position which ends up falling short in the way everything pans out.

Romance/WesternThere is meant to be a romance angle in this film which doesn’t seem very interesting in anyway, the western side of the film is everything you are expecting it to be without taking away any of the normal western traits.

SettingsThe film is set in the normal western towns which feels like the sets most likely were used in other films too.


Scene of the Movie –
Drunk J.P.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is just like every other western.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book western, it is easy to follow with stronger performances, but just offers nothing new to the genre.

 

Overall: Simple Western.

Rating