No tickets required for this FREE screening.
Sunday March 5, 2017 — 2:30 PM
Schubert’s Luxury 10 Theater
2799 Cranston Rd. Beloit
One of the most popular events of the Beloit International Film Festival in recent years comes at the very end. There is good reason.
The First National Bank and Trust Company Classic Film is the final official event on the ten-day BIFF schedule and it is offered free.
In addition, the community gets to select the film they want to see once again on the big screen from among the great films of all times.
This year, the community chose “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” as the most popular among available films surveyed, beating out other cinematic classics including Citizen Kane, Bridge On The River Kwai, and Bonnie & Clyde.
Poitier, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in a simultaneously humorous and sobering tale of racial climate change in the US during the 1960s. As poignant and relevant now as it was back then, it portrays a time in American history when inter-racial marriages were still illegal in many states.
In recent years this closing event of BIFF has drawn overflow crowds, presenting films such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Braveheart, and last year’s The Maltese Falcon.
Yes, there are serious faults in Stanley Kramer’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” but they are overcome by the virtues of this delightfully old-fashioned film. It would be easy to tear the plot to shreds and catch Kramer in the act of copping out. But why? On its own terms, this film is a joy to see, an evening of superb entertainment.
Entertainment, I think, is the key word here. Kramer has taken a controversial subject (interracial marriage) and insulated it with every trick in the Hollywood bag. There are glamorous star performances by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made more poignant by his death. There is shameless schmaltz (the title song, so help me, advises folks to give a little, take a little, let your poor heart break a little, etc.). The minor roles are filled with crashing stereotypes, like a Negro maid who must be Rochester’s sister and an Irish monsignor with a brogue so fey and eyes so twinkling he makes Bing Crosby look like a Protestant.
And there is the plot, borrowed from countless other drawing room comedies about “ineligible” suitors. Only this time the controversial suitor is not a socialist (“Man and Superman”), a newspaper reporter (“The Philadelphia Story”) or even a spinster (“Cactus Flower”) — but a Negro.