'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner' is about a young couple who declare to their own families that they are getting married. Both sides hadn't fully accepted mixed marriages being incorporated into their own families and this creates a racial tension. The young couple must overcome the battle of changing social prejudices.
I have always found Sidney Poitier a poised and respectable actor and within his films he has always held such dignity in his roles which was why I chose his dialogue in particular.
This is the scene I have chosen from where John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) stands up to his father.
I will use the dialogue from 1:50 to 2:24.
I wish I could've been able to include the line, "But you think of yourself as a coloured man. I think of myself, as a man."
Here is the basic dialogue that I will be using:
John Prentice: You can’t tell me when or where I’m out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules. You don’t even know what I am, dad; you don’t know who I am, you don’t know how I feel or what I think. And if I try to explain it the rest of your life you would never understand. You are thirty years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it’s got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the dead weight of you be off our backs!
Here is my analysed version:
BOLD = Strong emphasis on words.
Italic = words become soft.
[PAUSE] – Where he pauses to breathe or about to put emphasis on a word.
[Elongated] – When they lengthen out a word.
Red – Very important.
[Stating start, peak and end of emotions]
John Prentice: You can’t tell me when [elongated] [PAUSE] or where [elongated] I’m out of line [elongated], [PAUSE] or try to get me to live my life according to your [elongated] rules. [PAUSE] [Huffs] [Upset]You don’t even know what I am [elongated], dad [elongated]; you don’t know who [elongated] I am, [PAUSE] you don’t know how I feel [elongated] or what I think. [PAUSE]And if I try to explain it the rest of your life you would never understand. [End of upset] [PAUSE] [Start of anger builds up] You are thirty years [elongated] older than I am. [PAUSE] You and your whole [elongated] lousy [elongated] generation believes the way it was for you is the way it’s [start of climax] got to be. [Short pause] And not until your whole [elongated] generation has lain down and died [elongated] will the dead [climax] weight of you [elongated] be off our backs! [End of climax]
I've noticed that the character's emotions are building up through out this dialogue. He is upset that his father disagrees with him but he won't back down from how he feels. The constant emphasis and elongation of words work towards the climax at the end. His words are very much aggressive, as it regularly emphasises on 'you' or emphasises when it comes to explaining himself. There is particularly a strong emphasis at the end on 'died' and 'dead' which shows his anger at its peak.
I particularly love this scene for the strong tension it gives, since it is so expressive without being vulgar and yet still very dignified and sensible. There is so much emotion being shown in this short time period.
I still have a lot to catch up to, since I have decided to change my dialogue only three days before my formative assessment but I think this will be worth it.