Mixed-Race Marriage -- Hollywood Version

  • Hai Leong Toh


A VIEW FROM SINGAPORE The very first images I had of black-and-white sexual attraction were those from 100 Rifles (Tom Gries, 1969) where Jim Brown makes passionate love to Raquel Welch and in the slick Shaft (Gordon Parks, 1971) where the tough private detective Richard Roundtree has a fine wet time in the shower with a prostitute. The theme of interracial or mixed-race sex and marriage has been, since D. W. Griffith's time, problematic for Hollywood, the world's greatest Dream Factory. The most prominent film to treat this theme seriously is arguably Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967). The question of interracial relationship is more sublimated in this film, where Katherine confesses to her mother (Katharine Hepburn), she and Sidney Poitier have not had sex because "he wouldn't let me!" Though controversial in the tumultuous Civil Rights era, it now looks tame and timid as a social...

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