I don’t get how this film was remade the way it was. The original from 1967 was meant to provoke, well, I don’t know how the world worked in 1967, but it certainly presents a new concept to the characters in the film. And that concept is nowhere near comparable to Ashton Kutcher coming to dinner.
GWCTD (I hate repeating long titles) is about race, it’s about a black man coming to meet the parents of his future white wife. And it’s not really a comedy, though the characters, Sidney Poitier as the husband to be, Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn, playing the parents of the bride to be, are comedic at times. The premise of the film is that the parents have to approve of him, and they have to do so by dinner as he has to fly away that night and they want to be married in a week.
There’s a moment in the film which illustrates what this film (and really any film is). Tracey asks Poitier whether it’s really fair to force this decision on them in so short a time. And that’s what the film does: it asks you to pass judgement in two short hours on whether black and white people are equal, whether black people are worthy to be married to white people (and vice versa). And, of course, Sydney Poitier represents the best that any man, black of white, could wish to be: charming, educated, good looking, what more do you want?
There’s a myriad of characters that appear in the film and show a rich picture of what groups of people would be confronted with this issue. The parents represent the older white generation. Poitier’s parents that show up for dinner as well, represent the older black generation. And him and Katherine Houghton, as the daughter, represent modern society (for 1967). The black cook represents black lower class. There’s even a priest, who is the most chilled out guy in the film.
There’s a great scene in the film where Poitier says:
“Dad, you’re my father, I’m your son. I love you, I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a coloured man. I think of myself as a man.”
I think we can envision ourselves as having a similar conversation with our father at one point or other.
A fascinating film, and I wonder, I really wonder how they could have remade it. Maybe we should have seen a gay couple. But a Kutcher-flick!? Seems more like devolution than evolution.