7.7/10
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78 user 24 critic

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

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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Cast

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Elisabeth Fraser ...
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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 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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Warner Bros. Happiest Hit. (Lobby cards). See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

24 January 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre que vino a cenar  »

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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

The script for this film and the play on which it was based was inspired by Alexander Woollcott's infamous overnight stay at Moss Hart's Pennsylvania country home. Woolcott's visit had been an unmitigated nightmare, both for himself and Hart. Woolcott's overbearing, outrageous, and unbearable behavior included: insisting that he would not go to bed unless a milkshake and chocolate cookies were prepared for him, demanding that all the heat in the house be turned off, refusing to sleep in any room other than Hart's bedroom, accusing the servants of dishonesty, and writing in Hart's guestbook "I wish to say that on my first visit to Moss Hart's house I had one of the most unpleasant evenings I can ever recall having spent." See more »

Goofs

Nurse Preen said to Mr. Whiteside, "If Florence Nightingale had ever nursed YOU, Mr. Whiteside, she would have married Jack the Ripper instead of founding the Red Cross!" While Florence Nightingale is indisputably an early leader of nursing, Henri Dunant founded what became the International Red Cross. See more »

Quotes

Nurse Preen: I am not only walking out on this case, Mr. Whiteside, I am leaving the nursing profession. I became a nurse because all my life, ever since I was a little girl, I was filled with the idea of serving a suffering humanity. After one month with you , Mr. Whiteside, I am going to work in a munitions factory. From now on , anything I can do to help exterminate the human race will fill me with the greatest of pleasure. If Florence Nightingale had ever nursed YOU, Mr. Whiteside, she would have ...
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Connections

Referenced in The Muse (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Delightfully smug.
25 December 2008 | by (Omaha, NE USA) – See all my reviews

Not so much a Christmas movie as it is a movie that happens to take place during the Christmas season. This 1942 farce has a rude and elitist author/lecturer/high society man falling on the icy steps of an Ohio businessman and being forced to stay in the man's home for weeks. Monty Wolley plays Sheridan Whiteside who seems to have contempt to one degree or another for everyone around him. He felt it beneath him to even be somewhere like Ohio in the first place, and he is determined to make life miserable for everyone once he is marooned there. Whiteside has a put down ready for almost everything anyone says to him. His lines of dialog pretty much range from condescending flattery to outright insults. And let it be said here, that he is almost always hilarious.

Bette Davis plays Whiteside's personal secretary who falls in love with a local newspaper man and aspiring playwright. Davis confesses her intent to settle down with the handsome young man, and this is a matter of great concern for Whiteside since he would be nearly helpless without her. Even though his injuries have healed, he continues to act as though he is confined to a wheelchair for much of the picture. And most of the plot deals with Whiteside attempting to sabotage his secretary's blossoming romance.

The film lasts for nearly two hours and seldom lets the viewer up for air. This is a film that you may have to see several times to notice every clever line or plot development. And since it was originally a play, most of it takes place in one room. That being the living room of the put-upon Ohio businessman and his brow-beaten family. Along the way, Whiteside begins meddling in the lives of others, as well. He practically incites a rebellion by the couple's teenage children. He comes up with more insults than one can count for his nurse. And some of the funniest moments deal with an aging doctor attempting to get Whiteside to look at his manuscript about his profession. Many famous people appear and are referred to throughout the film. Most of the pop culture references are really dated, but not so much that it really bogs the film down. The acting is wonderful. Jimmy Durante and Ann Sheridan liven things up in support. The film is rather smug in how it was written by and about famous people who obviously look down on normal Midwestern folk. But the humor is harmless, and all too enjoyable. 10 of 10 stars.

The Hound.


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