Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

In my acting class we’re learning about behavior. Surprisingly, it’s extremely difficult to behave as a normal person on camera. I play with my hair when I listen so, yes, that should show up on camera somewhere. It’s part of my behavior.

But when you’re watching a movie, you get caught up in the enjoying-ness of the moment and you don’t pay attention to how excellently Dustin Hoffman listens or how just a tilt of the head from Vince Vaughn opens up a whole new world. In our last class, my teacher showed us short clips of brilliant, smart actors doing just that. I was thrilled when he showed a clip of Katharine Hepburn from ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’

KATHARINE HEPBURN 2Katharine Hepburn is at the top of my favorite actor list. But when I think about why I love her so much, I can’t pin down the exact reason. I just do. Watching this short scene helped unearth this mystery for me. Using her body language and without raising her voice or getting nasty, she fires her employee and tells her just what she thinks of her. Classic example of how sugar goes farther than spice.

I went home that night and watched the entire movie. Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier are inhuman – they’re so good. I had seen it before, but I didn’t understand what the actors were doing. What a difference an education makes. I am throughly inspired and humbled by their greatness. And now I feel like I should go through and re-watch every Katharine Hepburn movie ever made. And I’m totally okay with that.

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