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 <email@example.com>
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 »
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.
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