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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 October 2011
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER" (1942 113 min/B&W) -- Starring: Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Monty Woolley, Richard Travis, Jimmy Durante, Billie Burke, Reginald Gardiner & Grant Mitchell

Directed by William Keighley

While on a lecture tour in Ohio, Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) slips on the ice outside his hosts' home; until his broken leg heals, the hosts, Mr & Mrs Ernest Stanley (Grant Mitchell & Billie Burke) are forced to put up with the imperious Whiteside. This means enduring an unending stream of Whiteside's whims, caprices and vitriolic bon mots, as well as his long-distance phone calls, eccentric guests and a variety of critters, ranging from penguins to octopus. Whiteside insists upon stage-managing the lives of everyone around him. He is particularly keen on discouraging a romance between his faithful secretary Maggie Cutler (Bette Davis) and local newspaper editor Bert Jefferson (Richard Travis).

The George S. Kaufman/Moss Hart Broadway hit The Man Who Came to Dinner was inspired by the authors' mutual friend, waspish critic/author Alexander Woollcott.

The script, by the Epstein brothers, manages to retain most of the plays best lines and situations, even while expanding Bette Davis' role to justify her star status.

* Special footnote: -- Monty Woolley's favorite song for entertaining at parties was Cole Porter's "Miss Otis Regrets".

1. William Keighley Director)
Date of Birth: 4 August 1889 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 24 June 1984 - New York City, New York

2. Bette Davis [aka: Ruth Elizabeth Davis]
Date of Birth: 5 April 1908 - Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death: 6 October 1989 - Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France

3. Ann Sheridan
Date of Birth: 21 February 1915 - Denton, Texas
Date of Death: 21 January 1967 - Los Angeles, California

4. Monty Woolley [aka: Edgar Montillion Wooley]
Date of Birth: 17 August 1888 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 6 May 1963 - Albany, New York

5. Jimmy Durante
Date of Birth: 10 February 1893, New York City, New York
Date of Death: 29 January 1980, Santa Monica, California

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 113 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (May 30, 2006)
0Comment|4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 April 2009
What a wonderful comedy this is, although this has Bette Davis in there can only be one true star of this film and that's Monty Woolley, he's just superb in this role and is clearly revels in the lead role, he's not given top billing for some reason, but he should have.

This is basically a wild, weird and wonderful comedy, Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) is basically the man who's coming to dinner to cause havoc with the members of the house he's visiting.

You could say that there's no great plot here, but to be honest there's no great need as there are laughs aplenty in the mad situation comedy that ensues which even has a supporting cast of penguins in it!!

I managed to watch all of this film on a sharing network and knew that I would buy it just from watching the first 10 minutes and I'll be ordering this later today, a joy to watch from start to finish, this kind of film is the reason why people say 'they don't make like this anymore', if you enjoy films like Bringing up baby, then I'm sure you'll like this too, but this is not a romantic comedy.
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on 4 March 2014
A literary lion descends on a small mid-western town and, after a fall, is confined a to wheelchair in his reluctant host's house. Thereafter he takes command of the house for his own purposes - such as lunch with a bunch of convict murderers, while expelling the family from the main rooms of the house so that they can't get in the way of such things as his telephone calls from Winston Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt. He is monstrously rude to everybody else, but welcomes the diversion of visits from Hollywood chums. Monty Woolley makes a magnificent monster who finally redeems himself with an act of grace.
Fabulous dialogue delivered with lightning precision. Great stuff.
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VINE VOICEon 19 November 2008
Every Xmas we have a tradition of watching classic films set around the festive period ; Scrooge, Its a wonderful life, are obvious candidates but this Bette Davis stormer is up with the best but seems to have been inexplicably overlooked for DVD release.
Miss Davis plays the secretary to Monty Wooly's wonderful character, Sheridan Whiteside-an incorrigibly selfish yet charming radio celebrity. Forced to stay in a strangers' residence over Xmas he takes over the household and intimidates everyone (except Bette) with withering one liners. When he hears she is leaving to get married he hatches a plot to keep her. The film never lets up its pace-there are wonderful cameos-especially from Jimmy Durante, apparently aping Harpo marx in real life-I've already copied my vhs release onto dvd and am looking forward to the holiday viewing-would still buy a a fresh new print if available though.
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on 22 August 2010
This film has it all - great performances, an excellent script, and all the other ingredients that make a classic. Oh and Bette Davis too, who could ask for more and a rainy Sunday afternoon.
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on 4 November 2012
although bette davis has been given top billing in "the man who came to dinner," the main focus of attention is on the writer character(monte wooley), who goes out of his way to be as unpleasant and as difficult as possible during his unexpected stay at a house where he was only supposed to be a dinner guest. unfortunately, a fall on the steps outside the front of the house changes all that and he is a rather reluctant houseguest. his constand barbs and putdowns are amongst some of the funniest i have yet seen. full credit goes to the screenplay writers in their task of adapting this broadway success for "warner bros."
there follows some of the more eccentric plot developments that i have yet seen in any comedy film: an octopus, a basket full of penguins and a group of convicts all turning up at the same house to create havoc for the poor owners of the house!
bette davis is her usual watchable self as the loyal but somewhat suffering secretary, ann sheridan is very good as the rather condescending and pompous stage actress, billie burke is o.k as the creeping and crawling mistress of the house and jimmy durante is fantastic as one of the writer's cronies!
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on 8 September 2010
i have this film on video but as they are now a thing of the past ....i never get to see it. just love this movie so much Monty Wolley steals the show.....would love to have on DVD but cant buy it here..oh what joy...just orderd it ..
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on 2 January 2014
All I will say is, it's a wonderful film. There that's your lot. That's all it needs.

O, one more thing I can't advise taking the chance but the copy I got even though it was R1. I know because it even says it on the box. Plays in my R2 DVD player. No other R1 disc I have will, so I don't know what the hell is going on. But it's a brilliant piece of good luck.
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on 29 December 2014
Stage to screen - well done with Monty Woolley scathingly good in the leading role and Bette Davis delightful as his secretary. Other delights are Ann Sheridan and the ever welcome Mary Wickes as a put-upon nurse.
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on 25 August 2013
I will be brief......this was a successful stage play, it is superbly cast and the script is witty. If you like and understand the genre you will love this film. The cast Mary Wickes, Reginald Gardiner,,and others alongside the stars and all the Hollywood people are based on real people.......Harpo Marx, Noel Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, keep your wits about you.
If you are not into Hollywood, the theatre, or this superb cast stay clear otherwise if you haven't seen it you are in for a great.
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