Guess Who's Coming To Dinner And Interracial Marriage


A few days ago I rewatched one of my many favorite classic films from my DVD collection, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. There is oh-so much I love about this film. The story is honest and bold, and the performances from each and every actor are stellar. I was a big fan of Spencer Tracy, but I think this was his finest performance. And sadly, it was his last because he passed away only two weeks after the film was completed.

I was 12-years old when this movie first came out in theaters in 1967. I can't exactly remember how old I was when I first saw it, but I'm thinking I was around 15. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner was also one of my mother's favorite films, so I know that I most likely saw it with her once it was released on TV because she and I would often watch movies together.

And even though I was young at the time, I sensed that this film was a very important one because it addressed a highly controversial subject matter during that time period, with the civil rights movement and interracial marriage. It was a very courageous film.

Here is a brief synopsis:


When Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton), a free-thinking white woman, and black doctor John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) become engaged, they travel to San Francisco to meet her parents.


Matt Drayton (Spencer Tracy) and his wife Christina (Katharine Hepburn) are wealthy liberals who must confront the latent racism the coming marriage arouses. Matt especially, who is a newspaper publisher and has championed liberal causes all his life, when faced with this situation, his beliefs are shaken to their core.


Also attending the Draytons' dinner are Prentice's parents (Roy E. Glenn Sr., Beah Richards), who are equally resistant about the union. *note: although very little screen time, Beah Richard's performance was brilliant. So tender and sincere, she brought tears to my eyes.


In the end, and after much heated discussion between all the characters in the film, Matt gives an impassioned speech to John & Joey about the struggles they will face and the unkindness that will be heaped on them, but that if they truly love each they will survive.


Granted, this film is dated as interracial marriages are not nearly as uncommon as they were at the time, but it remains a powerful story today because many people continue to struggle with it.

My own personal view on this subject:

In as much as society's view has changed over the past 48 years, there will always be people (white and black) who don't agree with it because they either believe that races shouldn't mix, and/or feel that the children of interracial marriages will suffer from it.

Mixed Races:

I've never believed that races should only marry the same races. This is a big world we live in, filled with lots of different races and ethnicity's. And in marrying them together the world becomes a more richer place because we create a blend of races and ethnicity's; celebrating them within each other.

Children suffering:

And as far as the children are concerned, my feeling is that all children suffer something in their childhood because we can't protect children from the judgments of the world. I myself was verbally abused most of my childhood from other children in school because I was gay. And some children are verbally abused for being over-weight, or for having a lisp, or for not being smart, or for having a mental or physical handicap.

No child will live through their younger years without having some sort of judgement or prejudice against them.

But if we don't change the consciousness of the world through our children, then the world learns nothing. I believe that children are here to evolve the world.

It all comes down to love:

If two people meet and eventually love one another to the point of wanting to get married and have children, and they just so happen to be black and white, so what? Personally, I would rather see two people from difference races form a union of love and raise their children in that love, than have two people from the same race raise their children without any love.

You see, love doesn't concern itself with race or color. Love only knows that two people love each other.

Therefore, it all comes down to love.

And in the overall message of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, love conquers all.


Have a super Monday y'all!
X



45 comments

  1. Great synopsis of the movie, Ron! And a worthy topic for discussion, even today. Have you ever noticed how beautiful the children are of interracial couples? I wish I could find a link to post, but I remember reading some time ago that it is genetically more healthy (fewer birth defects and healthier genes in general) for a couple to be of different ethnicity and the further apart, the better. Isn't that interesting?

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  2. Hey there Bijoux!

    " Have you ever noticed how beautiful the children are of interracial couples?"

    OMG...yes! And I totally agree with you, the children of interracial couples are so incredibly beautiful!

    "I wish I could find a link to post, but I remember reading some time ago that it is genetically more healthy (fewer birth defects and healthier genes in general) for a couple to be of different ethnicity and the further apart, the better. Isn't that interesting?"

    Wow! Interesting indeed! And it makes sense. If you ever find that link, I would love to read the article.

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, my friend. Have a SUPER Monday and week!
    X

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  3. What a great post, Ron! So well-written and presented! It's been years since I've seen this film but you make me want to watch it again. Yes, it was Tracy's finest performance. The whole cast was amazing! And it's a film whose message continues to enlighten.

    "But if we don't change the consciousness of the world through our children, then the world learns nothing. I believe that children are here to evolve the world." I couldn't agree with you more!



    One of my nephews married an African-American young lady and she's absolutely lovely. And I believe that they are more in love today than they were when they first got married several years ago. I can't wait until they have children.


    Thank you for sharing this post, Ron. Wonderful topic!

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  4. Hellooooo there Elaine!

    Wasn't the cast stellar? About two years ago I purchased the 40th Anniversary Edition of the film and I love that it contained a second DVD that goes behind the scenes on the making of the film and very interesting discussions from some of the actors who were in it. It's a fascinating video.

    "One of my nephews married an African-American young lady and she's absolutely lovely. And I believe that they are more in love today than they were when they first got married several years ago. I can't wait until they have children."



    Oh, how awesome is that! And I bet they're going to make such LOVING parents!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a terrific Monday and week!


    X

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  5. Brilliant topic, Ron. It took a long time for the world to adjust to mixed marriages and still there are folk who do not or will not approve. It's odd that skin colour was felt to be so 'unmixable' yet white folk happily married foreigners with white skin. What's the difference? We're all human beings. It's not like they were marrying a different species altogether. I agree about the children, they're so good looking and their manners are mostly impeccable. I hadn't thought that the mix of ethnicity had something to do with it.


    I regret that I haven't seen the film. I wonder if it's still available.


    Enjoy your week, my friend x

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  6. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing the link, Bijoux! Outstanding article that brought up some excellent points. And I can't believe something like that occurred in 2009!?

    Again, thanks for sharing the article, my friend!

    X

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  7. Good morning Valerie!

    "It's odd that skin colour was felt to be so 'unmixable' yet white folk happily married foreigners with white skin. What's the difference?"

    Excellent point!!! And you're absolutely right, what's the difference?!?

    "We're all human beings. It's not like they were marrying a different species altogether."

    Yes, and that's exactly what I've said to people who feel that mixed marriages are unnatural.

    "I regret that I haven't seen the film. I wonder if it's still available."



    I don't know whether it's still available on cable TV, but I do know that you can still find it online (Amazon) or perhaps Netflix.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear lady. Have a fantastic week!


    X to you and Joe

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  8. Ron, so many of the points you shared about your views on this topic are my own. I've never had the slightest resistance with interracial marriages and find it hard to believe that some people still struggle with it - even to this day. I agree with Valerie who said that we're all human beings. It's not like marrying a different species. People marry foreigners of the same color, so what's the difference?

    "But if we don't change the consciousness of the world through our children, then the world learns nothing. I believe that children are here to evolve the world." Yes, and I think children are much stronger and resilient than we give them credit. They survive.



    I've never seen this film but it sounds like one I would very much like to watch.


    Outstanding post, dude!

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  9. Great article!

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  10. Hola Denise!

    " I've always thought that race mixing produces some of the most beautiful children."

    Yes, here in Philadelphia there are a lot of mixed race marriages who have children and they are so beautiful!

    "I've never seen the film but will look for it."



    I don't know whether you can find it on cable TV, but I do know that you can find it online (Amazon) or perhaps Netflix. It's such a awesome film!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a wonderful week too!
    X

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  11. Hiya Matt!

    I agree with Valerie's comment at well. She brought up a VERY good point!

    "Yes, and I think children are much stronger and resilient than we give them credit. They survive."



    I think so too. I also think children become stronger for it.


    You can find this film online (at Amazon) or perhaps on Netflix. I actually purchased it from F.Y.E several years ago. It's such a great story!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a most excellent week!
    X

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  12. Rob LenihanJuly 13, 2015

    Great post, Ron, and how right you are--it really does all come down to love. I haven't seen this film in years and I'm thinking that it's time for another viewing. As far as relationships, all that matters is that two people care deeply for each other.


    Race, religion, gender and all the other pathetic labels that we're forced to wade through just make people miserable. As long as you connect with someone, you'll always know who's coming for dinner.

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  13. I had not seen that movie until a few years ago, and I enjoyed it.
    I think love leads the way, not the color of skin.

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  14. Ron, I always learn so much from you and your interesting friends! Thank you for tackling what could be a divisive subject in such a loving, accepting manner.

    I don't recall seeing this movie, but Spencer Tracy was such an outstanding talent -- no wonder it (and its subject matter) were memorable.

    Happy Monday to you -- hope you avoid the wicked weather traversing Illinois today!

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  15. Hey there Rob!

    " As far as relationships, all that matters is that two people care deeply for each other. As long as you connect with someone, you'll always know who's coming for dinner."

    BRILLIANTLY said! And I totally agree!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a fantastic week!

    X

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  16. "I'm all about love, regardless of race, gender, creed, etc."

    Yup, I knew you would be, Mark! :)

    "Well...I take that back about Creed. Awful band. If my potential partner loved Creed and came to me "with arms wide open," I'd turn and run on general principle alone."



    Bwhahahhahaha! OMG, that cracked me the hell up! You are so clever with words!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a faaaaaabulous week!


    X to you and Tara

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  17. "I had not seen that movie until a few years ago, and I enjoyed it."

    Isn't it a great film, Suzi? And I think it's a story that remains powerfully inspiring.

    "I think love leads the way, not the color of skin."



    Amen!


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, my friend. Have a super week!
    X

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  18. Hellooooo there Debbie!

    After rewatching the film, I felt inspired to write about it and share my own feelings.

    "I don't recall seeing this movie, but Spencer Tracy was such an outstanding talent -- no wonder it (and its subject matter) were memorable."



    Wasn't Spencer Tracy an outstanding talent? And what I especially loved about his acting is that it was so natural. You could never catch him "acting." There are many directors who said that he was the best they had ever worked with because he had no particular technique for acting, he would just magically "become" the character.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Happy Monday to you too! Have a super week!


    X


    P.S. It's been raining here off and on for the past few weeks. However, today was beautiful.

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  19. Ron, I always enjoying reading your post, but I especially like when you share on controversial topics because you state your views clearly and directly, but do it in an intelligent manner. I admire the way you write.


    And of course, I agree with you 100% about interracial marriages. "Therefore, it all comes down to love." And I think if people really understood and believed that within their hearts, there wouldn't be any issues. Love is love!


    Thank you for sharing on this topic, Ron! Well said.


    I love the picture of the couple with child. Sweet!

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  20. Thank you, Robert :) After viewing the film last week, I was inspired to share the story because I think it's still a powerful one. I also rewatched the second DVD it came with which contained some very interesting behind-the-scenes interviews with several of the actors, who talked about how challenging it was to get the movie made and how much resistance they got from Hollywood because they thought it was too risky a topic. However, the director (Stanley Kramer) and cast persisted until the studio agreed to make it.

    "And I think if people really understood and believed that within their hearts, there wouldn't be any issues. Love is love!"

    Yes, you said it!

    I found that picture online at a website for interracial couples. Isn't it a sweet photo? The little girl is adorable!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a fabuloso week!
    X

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  21. AkelamaluJuly 14, 2015

    I remember this film well, i thought it was wonderful! I so agree with everything you have said Ron. I remember when I was about 12 being shocked to the core when I heard my aunt say something about a neighbour, (a white woman who had married a black man), along the lines of "she couldn't get a white man, she's a tramp"! The lady in question was a lovely, lovely woman who was so obviously in love with her husband who was also a lovely person. I could never quite be the same with my aunt after that. :(

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  22. " I could never quite be the same with my aunt after that. :("

    I would have felt the exact same way, Pearl. OMG...how rude and ignorant of your aunt to say that!

    So you've seen this film as well? Wasn't it wonderful? It's truly a classic with a powerful message.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, m'dear! Have a fabulous week!
    X

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  23. Geraldine H.July 15, 2015

    Is it really that long ago that movie was released? Wow...how time flies. I remember watching that movie as a child and in spiite of the adult theme and controversy, really being moved by the story. I had a HUGE crush on Sidney Poitier after seeing To Sir With Love so anything he starred in, that was a movie I had to see. He always seemed like such a classy guy. And when I recently spoke with another actor who was in Shoot to Kill, apparently the "real" Sidney is just that, a real classy man, onscreen and off.

    I have no issues with interracial marriages but at that time it wasn't common and I think it was brave for the producers to tackle this topic and to do it well and not "sugar coated" either. There was real depth in this movie and the actors portrayed real emotions .

    Great topic and post Ron. Now I feel like seeing this film again.😊

    Hope your summer is going well. It has finally cooled down here in BC after a looooong heatwave.😣 Now we need some rain. How's the weather in PA?

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  24. Now I want to see this... I don't know if I ever have although I know about it. Katharine H is my VERY FAVORITE ACTRESS EVER EVER EVER. We have an autobiography by her about the making of the African Queen that is amazing. But I digress.

    I remember as a child starting to see mixed race couples. As I grew older I began to see these couples marrying and having babies... at THAT time it was unusual to see a child from a mixed race marriage. I saw some of these kids get teased and learned a big lesson... that no matter who you are, if you are different you will be treated differently and your CHILDREN will too. A very sad realization. I am so happy that today you don't even think twice about anyone being married to anyone, black, white, red, green. It seems things have moved forward a bit. I am sad that today there is still bullying... skin color, weight, age, intelligence... but I am happy that there is more acceptance of different skin colors and sexual preference!

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  25. Hello there Geraldine!

    Yes, can you believe this movie came out in 1967!? And it seems like yesterday that I first saw it.

    " I had a HUGE crush on Sidney Poitier after seeing To Sir With Love so anything he starred in, that was a movie I had to see."

    OMG, I loved the movie To Sir With Love!!! I saw that while I was in Catholic school at a Friday afternoon movie day. That too was a very controversial film for the time. And you're right about Sidney Poitier, I've heard the same thing said about him from other actors and directors - CLASSY guy and extremely kind and down-to-earth.

    Glad to hear it's cooling off in BC. We just had a spike in humidity and heat, so it's been very uncomfortable the past couple of days. Hopefully though, we'll get a break over the weekend.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend! Have a great rest of your week!

    X

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  26. Hellooooooo there Katherine!

    "Katharine H is my VERY FAVORITE ACTRESS EVER EVER EVER."

    She's one of my favorite actresses as well. And she was fabulous in this film. She won an Oscar for that role. She and Tracy were so great together in that film!

    "I am so happy that today you don't even think twice about anyone being married to anyone, black, white, red, green. It seems things have moved forward a bit. I am sad that today there is still bullying... skin color, weight, age, intelligence... but I am happy that there is more acceptance of different skin colors and sexual preference!"



    Yes, we've come a long way over the years, but it's as you shared, there is still bullying going on. There IS more acceptance of different skin colors and sexual preference, yet I think there will always be people who don't accept or agree


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great rest of your week and weekend!


    X

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  27. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comJuly 16, 2015

    A great film - there is even a remake! I'm with you -- we need more love and less judging!

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  28. Ron, I first saw this movie several years ago, and even thought it was dated, it still had a profound effect on me because as you said, many people do continue to struggle with it today. Great movie with a powerful message. Love conquers all!

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  29. Fiona, I had no idea there was a remake of the movie, however, I Googled it and saw that it was called "Guess Who," made in 2005. I'll have to see if I can find it in the video store. Thanks for letting me know.


    Hope your trip to England was fabulous? Can't wait to see your photographs!


    Have a super weekend, my friend!
    X

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  30. Hello there Suzanne!


    Glad you were able to see this film. I can still remember how I felt the first time I saw it. Even today it still moves me.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great rest of your week!


    X

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  31. I actually have never seen this film. But first, it's lovely to be back :) Between having the plague, wedding season, my photography blog literally crashing - i've been soooooooo MIA!


    I mean, I tend to forget that people even worried about interracial marriages with all the "new" things people have to get huffy over now in my generation. I guess when I was a kid it was a bit more accepted - but yes, still looked down upon my many groups. It's always been a hard thing for me to wrap my mind around. I definitely know there are distinct differences in cultures, but as far as skin color, it just never occurs to me. Like, it's SKIN?! It's just what keeps your organs in. And sometimes, I wish mine was darker so I didn't have to subject myself to sunburns lol.


    And I do come from a very prejudice town - a very crime ridden, racially divided weird town. So I see it alot. But, the way I was raised was just that it wasn't a big deal.


    And you're SO right about kids being bullied. I went home crying like, every day in high school. And I'm a middle class white girl with two loving parents, haha. So, it definitely happens to everyone. Kids are just freaking mean!

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  32. Hey there Brit!

    No worries, girl. I understand completely that you've had a lot going on with your photography and stuff. Sorry to hear about your photography blog crashing?! Hope you got it back up and running.

    "It's always been a hard thing for me to wrap my mind around."

    And me as well. I simply don't understand it.

    "And I do come from a very prejudice town - a very crime ridden, racially divided weird town. So I see it alot. But, the way I was raised was just that it wasn't a big deal."

    And I come from Philly, which is a VERY segregated city as well - and not just by races but also nationalities. I too was raised that it wasn't a big deal.

    "So, it definitely happens to everyone. Kids are just freaking mean!"

    You're right, some kids can be mean. And I think they're mean out of fear.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing on this post, my friend. Have a super weekend!

    X

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  33. Really interesting synopsis and as I am yet to watch this movie, I might just look for a copy to watch. Nice of you to share. Greetings!

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  34. Greetings and hello there!

    If you ever get a chance to watch this film, I think you would really enjoy it because not only does it share a very important message, but it's also sprinkled with some wonderfully humorous moments. The cast is brilliant!

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a SUPER weekend!

    X

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  35. This makes me want to watch the movie again. I loved it when I was a kid. And I so agree, of course. I remember going out with a guy once who was taken aback when he discovered that I'd had an African-American boyfriend. I was taken aback that HE was taken aback! Needless to say, that first date was also the last. The recent marriage equality ruling is just another reminder that any two consenting adults should be able to marry. Race, religion, gender - what does it matter? Love matters. Often love is the only thing that matters.

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  36. Wonderful post, Ron! I have never seen this movie but plan to. And I agree with you, people love who they love. If two people meet who are of different races or even cultures and decide to get married, then so be it. And I also agree with you about the children. Each generation changes the consciousness of the world. And as others have said, I think children of interracial marriages are beautiful!

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  37. Isn't it a GREAT movie? Anytime I rewatch it, I'm always reminded of what an important film it was THEN, as well as NOW.

    " I remember going out with a guy once who was taken aback when he discovered that I'd had an African-American boyfriend. I was taken aback that HE was taken aback! Needless to say, that first date was also the last."

    Had I been you, I would have felt and reacted the exact same way.

    "The recent marriage equality ruling is just another reminder that any two consenting adults should be able to marry. Race, religion, gender - what does it matter? Love matters. Often love is the only thing that matters."



    So beautifully stated and thank you! :)


    Hope you had a super weekend, my friend!

    X

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  38. Hello there Suzanne!

    If you ever get the chance to see this film, I think you will really enjoy it. Great story, great cast, and a powerful message.

    " Each generation changes the consciousness of the world. And as others have said, I think children of interracial marriages are beautiful!"



    I soooooooo agree!


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, my friend. Hope you had a fabulous weekend!


    X

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  39. Couldn't agree more with your post, Ron. I remember thinking not only how courageous, but feeling a gleeful shock. Believe me, my parents weren't very different from those of my friends, having to deal with changes in society reflected in "Guess Who" that our generation were actually creating. Our acceptance and tolerance versus the conventions. And I appreciated film dealing with these issues which aren't touched now except in small Indie films.
    I'm actually shocked that Philadelphia was made at all...better late than never I guess.
    And I agree, where there is love, there is acceptance and tolerance. I just have to turn on the news for ten minutes and know that there just isn't enough love.
    Sorry, I got off the track of this great film. Believe it or not, Ron, I secretly wanted Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn to adopt me. Of all families, I wanted to be a part of theirs. I don't think I've even shared this with my brothers and sisters. They were my kind of people. LOL, Ron, what an imagination, eh?
    Time to revisit. TY for sharing, Ron! :))

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  40. Hello there Petra!

    " having to deal with changes in society reflected in "Guess Who" that our generation were actually creating. Our acceptance and tolerance versus the conventions."

    Yes...and I LOVE how you expressed that! And you're absolutely right!

    "I'm actually shocked that Philadelphia was made at all...better late than never I guess."

    So ironic you mentioned that film (which I also own). I think that film was much more accepted because of Tom Hanks and his lead role. He, just being Tom Hanks, allowed public to embrace such a controversial subject matter at that time. And so did, Denzel.

    "I secretly wanted Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn to adopt me. Of all families, I wanted to be a part of theirs."

    HA! OMG...I think that's faaaaaabulous! Didn't they make a PERFECT pair? And their love and admiration for each other shown through in all their performances together.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear friend. Have a super weekend!
    X

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  41. nite byrdJuly 24, 2015

    Gods! Sidney is one handsome man! I remember when this movie came out - it caused a stir. It was and still is a GREAT movie!

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  42. "I remember when this movie came out - it caused a stir. It was and still is a GREAT movie!"

    Yes...it's STILL a GREAT movie with an incredible message

    And I agree, Sidney is one handsome man! I also loved him in "To Sir With Love."

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, sis!

    Have a faaaaaabulous weekend!
    X

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  43. Oh Ron! Good lord how I've missed reading your posts! You always know JUST how to tug at my heartstrings! I can literally feel your energy!!

    "Love conquers all" Um yes, yes it certainly does. I can personally attest to that!

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  44. Hey there Meleah!

    Thank you for your sweet words, my friend. I felt like I needed to share this post after watching the film because of its powerful message.

    ""Love conquers all" Um yes, yes it certainly does. I can personally attest to that!"



    Yes, if anyone can attest to that, YOU certainly can! And I am sooooooo happy for you!


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