The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

G  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  24 January 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,765 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 23 critic

When acerbic critic Sheridan Whiteside slips on the front steps of a provincial Ohio businessman's home and breaks his hip, he and his entourage take over the house indefinitely.



(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Airs Sun. Dec. 06, 10:00 AM on TCM

1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elisabeth Fraser ...
George Barbier ...
Russell Arms ...
Ruth Vivian ...
Edwin Stanley ...
Betty Roadman ...


Lecturer Sheridan Whiteside slips on the ice on his way into the home of a prominent Ohio family. The local doctor says Whiteside must remain confined having broken his leg. He begins to meddle with the lives of everyone in the household and, once his plots are underway, learns there is nothing wrong with his leg. He bribes the doctor and resumes control of the household. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Nothing could be funnier! (Posters). See more »


Comedy | Romance


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 January 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre que vino a cenar  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Bette Davis saw "The Man Who Came to Dinner" on Broadway and immediately wanted to play the role of Maggie, the antithesis of her usual roles. She wanted the role desperately because she wanted to act opposite John Barrymore who was to play Sheridan Whiteside. At her insistence, Warner Bros. tested Barrymore for the role but his failing health and inability to remember his lines cost him the job. See more »


At one point in the film, Maggie Cutler goes to the window and comments on the snow falling outside. The falling snow is clearly visible outside the window. Then the camera goes to a medium shot, with all the windows visible, but from this angle, no snow is seen to be falling whatsoever. See more »


Sheridan Whiteside: How long can you stay?
Banjo: Just long enough to take a bath.
See more »


Spoofed in The Bird Who Came to Dinner (1961) See more »


Silent Night, Holy Night
(1818) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Gruber
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
Sung by a boys' choir
See more »

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User Reviews

Groucho-like Insults Worth Memorizing
13 December 2004 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

George S. Kaufman co-wrote this play-turned-film based on the real-life characters with whom he regularly associated. Alexander Woolcott, the famed Broadway critic was the inspiration for Sheridan Whiteside, a publicly loved figure who's private, curmudgeonly demeanor was less than idyllic. Kaufman even went so far as to have Whiteside occasionally sing jibberish with a child's speech impediment, which was a practice of Woolcott's.

Monty Wooley brilliantly delivers the Groucho-like insults penned with supreme wit by the Marxian play and film write. Kaufman, of course, co-wrote many of the Marx's best works and was a good friend of Harpo, upon whom the character "Banjo" is based.

The entire cast is brilliant save for Richard Travis who, while not distractingly bad, is somewhat outclassed by the likes of Bette Davis, Billie Burke, Mary Wickes, and Reginald Gardiner.

All in all, this is solid comedy that bears repeated seasonal viewing. I can't figure out why it's not on DVD. That's not true. I CAN figure it out. I doubt it would sell large numbers of copies given movie audiences' limited awareness of the film. What I meant was, I wish it were available on DVD.

35 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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sly references to Whiteside's sexuality ? ksf-2
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