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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Movie audiences are often confused by the fact that well-known actors such as Ann Sheridan, Jimmy Durante and Reginald Gardiner do not appear until beyond the midway point of the film. Kaufman and Hart constructed their theater pieces like relay races, introducing new characters throughout the length of their three-act plays as a means of injecting audiences with periodic shots of adrenaline to help them keep pace with the frenetic goings-on. In the case of The Man Who Came to Dinner, Lorraine Sheldon and Beverly Carlton do not appear until the second act, while Banjo makes his entrance at the top of the third. See more »
There is a magical white pillow that alternately appears behind Whiteside's back as he sits in the wheelchair. It is most noticeable when Harriet Stanley, the odd lady, gives Whiteside a present which he does not open right away. It is there and it is not there pretty quickly. By the time Jimmy Durante (Banjo) visits him the pillow never returns. See more »
Sherry, the next time you do NOT want to see anybody, just let me know, and I'll usher them right in.
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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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