An acerbic critic wreaks havoc when a hip injury forces him to move in with a Midwestern family.An acerbic critic wreaks havoc when a hip injury forces him to move in with a Midwestern family.An acerbic critic wreaks havoc when a hip injury forces him to move in with a Midwestern family.
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.
- Oct 18, 2007