Stanley Kramer's controversial film, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" was released 50-years ago in 1967. His widow, Karen Sharpe-Kramer recalls memories of the film which is all about love and social injustice.

The film that changed history

The late 1960s was the era of the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- we honor his birthday every January. It was a time when it was a crime for interracial marriage to survive and exist. Stanley Kramer, the director of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” changed the tone of civilization and went against all odds to produce a film that was controversial to the American public about a 23-year-old woman (Katharine Houghton, who is Katharine Hepburn’s niece).

She brings home a handsome African-American doctor (Sidney Poitier) whom she fell madly in love with while visiting Hawaii, and wishes to marry him against her parents' will.

Fast forward to 2017, we’re still living in a racial society with endless protests and violence. The liberals are still fighting the policies of our new president, Donald J. Trump, who vows to take a stand on Immigration Reform and ban Muslims in this country. The film features the famous old love song, “The Glory of Love.”

The screening and Q&A was held on February 2. Stanley Kramer’s widow, Karen Sharpe-Kramer and some other cast members answered questions from the audience and screened the film. She said the audience seemed to enjoy it as they did 50 years ago.

Standing up for civil rights

Stanley Kramer produced many controversial films about social issues. According to Karen, Columbia Pictures owed him over $3,000,000 but it wasn't all about money for Stanley. He wanted "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" financed and produced. Stanley felt that the injustice of interracial marriage in the late 60s was unconstitutional and inhuman.

We finished filming in May, the Supreme Court’s decision came down in June, which was a good decision. “The African-American community wasn’t in favor of it being legalized. The company was not very comfortable with that decision, there was a lot of unrest about it," Karen said in an interview.

The late 1960s was a time of racial war.

In films and in public, interracial marriage or dating was considered a crime, and it was controversial for an African-American actor like Sidney Poitier to kiss a white girl.

"Sidney kissed a white girl in a film called, “A Patch of Blue” a few years before, but for some reason that film was not a huge success, it got overlooked."

Karen founded the Stanley Kramer Awards Producers Guild 16 years ago and also founded an award for young filmmakers at UCLA.

“I established it when Stanley passed away to find socially-conscious films that deal with that subject matter. It’s like Hitchcock had his thing with mysteries and murders, Stanley had it with social issues. Nobody was doing it, actually, there was very little social issues in films 16 years ago.

This year the award went to the film, “Loving” because it was about an interracially married couple who took their case to the ACLU and the State of Virginia because they were interracially married and took that all the way to the Supreme Court."

She also founded film festivals on Catalina Island, The Social Artist Award, and film festivals in Kentucky and Palm Springs with the Stanley Kramer Award.

"Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" is three-way love story about Spencer Tracy, Stanley and Karen, and the story about the characters in the film (Joanne and John).

The Blu-Ray includes two bonus featurettes.

One of them features A-list celebrities Tom Brokaw, Alec Baldwin, Quincy Jones, Stephen Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and Al Gore, who all speak about the film, Karen appears in the introduction, and also produced the bonus featurettes.