7.6/10
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The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

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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.

Director:

William Keighley

Writers:

Julius J. Epstein (screen play), Philip G. Epstein (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Maggie Cutler
Ann Sheridan ... Lorraine Sheldon
Monty Woolley ... Sheridan Whiteside
Richard Travis ... Bert Jefferson
Jimmy Durante ... Banjo
Billie Burke ... Mrs. Ernest W. Stanley aka Daisy
Reginald Gardiner ... Beverly Carlton
Elisabeth Fraser ... June Stanley
Grant Mitchell ... Mr. Ernest W. Stanley
George Barbier ... Dr. Bradley
Mary Wickes ... Miss Preen
Russell Arms ... Richard Stanley
Ruth Vivian Ruth Vivian ... Harriet Stanley
Edwin Stanley Edwin Stanley ... John
Betty Roadman Betty Roadman ... Sarah
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

24 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre que vino a cenar See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,050,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Banjo is based on Harpo Marx. Sheridan Whiteside is based on noted theatre critic and personality Alexander Woollcott. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Sheridan Whiteside: Strange? She's right out of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Frasier: The Ann Who Came to Dinner (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Delightfully smug.
25 December 2008 | by TOMASBBloodhoundSee 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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