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The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

 -  Comedy | Romance  -  24 January 1942 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,987 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 21 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.

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(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Monty Woolley ...
Richard Travis ...
...
...
Reginald Gardiner ...
Elisabeth Fraser ...
...
George Barbier ...
...
Russell Arms ...
Ruth Vivian ...
Edwin Stanley ...
Betty Roadman ...
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Storyline

Lecturer Sheridan Whiteside slips on the ice on his way into the home of a prominent Ohio family. The Dr. 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. The owner discovers the fraud, but Whiteside blackmails him (he finds out that the owner's sister is an axe murderer) and resumes control. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

24 January 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre que vino a cenar  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, authors of the play from which this film was adapted, were good friends with Alexander Woollcott, a famous critic, radio personality, and lecturer at the time. Woollcott requested that they write a play FOR him, but they never came up with a plot. One day Woollcott came to visit Hart unexpectedly and turned his house upside down, taking over the master bedroom, ordering Hart's staff around and making a general nuisance of himself. When Moss Hart told George S. Kaufman of the visit, he asked, "Imagine what would have happened if he broken his leg and had to stay?" They looked at each other and knew they had a play. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Sheridan Whiteside: Suppose your parents are unhappy with you. It's good for them. It develops character.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lassie: The Cat That Came to Dinner (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Did You Ever Have the Feeling That You Wanted to Go?
(uncredited)
Written and Performed by Jimmy Durante
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User Reviews

 
1942 Bette Davis a Subdued Secretary in a Comedy
18 October 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Screenwriters Moss Hart & George S. Kaufmann created this hilarious story based upon the personas of playwright Noel Coward, film critic Alexander Woollcott, and theater actress Gertrude Lawrence. It became a Broadway hit, then this box-office sensation. Bette Davis convinced Warner Brothers to make this film.

When "The Man Who Came To Dinner," Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley), an eccentric author & radio lecturer, & his secretary, Maggie Cutler (Bette Davis), arrive at the home of a prominent Ohio family, the Stanleys, Whiteside injures his leg, slipping at his hosts' entrance. After a doctor (George Barbier) tells Whiteside that his leg is broken & he can't leave, the eccentric guest who had only come to dinner wreaks havoc by meddling in everyone else's lives in a proper family's home! Whiteside is especially bent upon keeping Maggie (Davis) unmarried & employed as his secretary who manages all of his life affairs. She's fallen in love, wants to marry & leave her job. Whiteside even bribes the doctor to remain silent after learning nothing's wrong with his leg! When Mr. Stanley uncovers their fraud, Whiteside blackmails him by holding an old family secret over his head. Though, Whiteside's plot to keep Maggie doesn't fool her, it is the central comedy performance of the movie.

Maggie Cutler (Davis) is a perfect foil for Whiteside (Woolley). Her original role was not as central in the stage play. It was expanded for film. Playing a secretary is the only time during Davis' golden 40's period in Hollywood when she accepted a supporting role. However, Davis was billed first in order to make the movie box-office hit. It's a delightful Christmas comedy.

Here's a typical exchange between 'Sheri' & Maggie: Sheridan Whiteside: I simply will not sit down to dinner with Midwestern barbarians, I think too highly of my digestive system.

Maggie Cutler: Harry Clarke is one of your oldest friends.

Sheridan Whiteside: My stomach is an older one.

Maggie Cutler: And Mrs. Stanley is President of the women's club.

Sheridan Whiteside: I wouldn't care if she was the whole cabinet.

Banjo (Jimmy Durante) delivers some memorable comical one-liners, as well.


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