Sunday, 4 September 2011

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1941) is a hilarious film

Ann Sheridan, Richard Travis, Bette Davis and Monty Woolley
Manic classic comedy set during Christmas with a lots of star power. When the world famous writer and lecturer Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) breaks his leg while visiting the home of a prominent Ohio family, he must stay there to recuperate. The family at first is ecstatic to have him stay until they realize what an over-bearing and pompous windbag he really his. Joining him is his personal assistant Maggie Cutler (a subdued Bette Davis). In between frustrating the head of the family, Sheridan, or Sherry as most everyone calls him, must also contend with a newspaper man who is trying to get an interview. The man and Maggie promptly fall in love and Maggie tells Sherry she is leaving him. That won't do so Sherry calls his favorite actress Lorraine Sheldon (a fabulous Ann Sheridan) to come there and break up the happy couple. There are laughs galore in this film and its at a pretty good clip too.

Bette Davis and Monty Wooley
Bette and Monty (Woolley, that is, not me)

Monty Woolley is outstanding in his role as Sherry. He may be hard to deal with it but in the end he will eventually start warming up to others. It's unusual seeing Ms. Davis in a role like this. I mean she has done comedy before and well, but here she is very low key. There are times she kinda fades into the background and is over powered by Ann Sheridan's character. Davis is still good here but I wish during her confrontation scene with Sheridan she was allowed to let loose. In the meantime Ann Sheridan has an absolute great time as Lorraine, trading wisecracks with Sherry and slinging insults to everyone else. Jimmy Durante pops by for a cameo towards the end and he gets a few laughs. The very funny Billie Burke is also on hand as the mother of the put upon family. The Man Who Came To Dinner is a solid comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Bette Davis and Reginald Gardiner
Bette and Reginald Gardiner

Sheridan Whiteside: [opening a box of candy] Ah, pecan butternut fudge!
Nurse Preen: Oh, my, you mustn't eat candy, Mr. Whiteside, it's very bad for you.
Sheridan Whiteside: My great aunt Jennifer ate a whole box of candy every day of her life. She lived to be 102 and when she'd been dead three days she looked better than you do *now!*

Please do come in.....
I don't know about everyone else but Ann looks kind of crazy.....


  1. Monty Wooley steals the show, that's for sure. His character is SO annoying and rude that it's actually funny. And poor Mary Wickes...her nurse character got the brunt of his rudeness.

    Our family loves this movie.

  2. One of the marvellous films in which so many characters are based on real persons..

    Thank you for that great post, Monty.

  3. I loved the perfect cast. Billie Burke playing the same part as the ditsy socialite, was one of my favs. She always makes me smile.


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