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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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Maggie Cutler
... Lorraine Sheldon
... Sheridan Whiteside
... Bert Jefferson
... Banjo
... Mrs. Ernest W. Stanley aka Daisy
... Beverly Carlton
... June Stanley
... Mr. Ernest W. Stanley
... Dr. Bradley
... Miss Preen
... Richard Stanley
Ruth Vivian ... Harriet Stanley
Edwin Stanley ... John
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:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 January 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre que vino a cenar  »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

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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

Fredric March was considered for the role of Sheridan Whiteside. Charles Coburn was also considered but refused to make a screen test. 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: I shall require the exclusive use of this room, as well as that drafty sewer you call the library. I want no one to come in or out while I am in this room.
Mrs. Ernest Stanley: But we have to go up those steps to get to our rooms, Mr. Whiteside.
Sheridan Whiteside: Isn't there a back entrance?
Mrs. Ernest Stanley: Well, Yes...
Sheridan Whiteside: Then use that. Let me see, there will be a great many incoming and outgoing calls, so please do not use the telephone.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in California Dreams: The Sly Who Came to Dinner (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
1942 Bette Davis a Subdued Secretary in a Comedy
18 October 2007 | by See all my reviews

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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