Whether you’re already a fan of classic comedy movies or you want to start watching them (and not sure where to start) The Man That Came To Dinner is a wonderful choice. Originally a Broadway stage hit written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart in 1939, the movie was re-created for the silver screen by director William Keighley in 1942 and mirrored that success again.
Woolley By Name But Not Woolly By Nature
Celebrated New York author and critic Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) is on a promotional tour and due to have dinner with The Stanleys, a well-to-do family in Ohio. The train pulls into Ohio with Sheridan Whiteside on board and he is complaining to his niece and secretary Maggie Cutler (Bette Davis), “I simply will not sit down to dinner with mid Western barbarians, I think too highly of my digestive system.” To that, Maggie insists he must do this as part of his radio tour and promises to others but he states he will not budge.
He eventually gets off the train and meets Mr Stanley (Grant Mitchell) and Mrs Stanley played by Billy Burke (you may recognise her voice, she was Glinda the good witch of the North in the Wizard of Oz).
The Idol Of The Airways Rests Until Further Notice
Maggie Cutler to Whiteside, “You know Sherry you have one great advantage over everyone else in the world, you’ve never had to meet Sheridan Whiteside.”
Cold and nearly Christmas Sherry slips on the icy steps leading up to Mr Stanley’s house. And this time he really doesn’t budge, he decides to stay at the house to recover from his broken hip and this is where the movie really kicks off.
“What A Sense Of Humour You Writers Have.”
This is one of my favourite classic comedy movies EVER, I adore Monty Woolley playing Sheridan Whiteside. Interfering with everyone’s lives, he is cheeky and mischievous throughout the film.
Being rude and arrogant he commands the family to stay out of his way while he recuperates in their house! His one-liners are right corkers and many of them are easy to miss on first watching. Miss Preen (Mary Wickes) has been hired to nurse him, he waves off her unwanted attention with his acid-tongued remarks. “Go in and read the life of Florence Nightingale and learn how unfitted you are for your chosen profession.”
A quietly spoke man, Doctor Bradley (George Barbier) has written his own book and would like Sherry to read it. Being a scallywag the New York author’s reaction to that is anything but kind. But the doctor just chooses to smile and takes it on the chin as the writer’s sense of humour.
Big Lord Fauntleroy
All manner of guests and gifts arrive at the house to entertain Sherry and wish him well. Convicts, Chinese business men, celebrity friends (Jimmy Durante and Reginald Gardiner), an octopus and some penguins and more. It drives Mr Stanley bonkers. He turns their house into a carnival and their children onto the streets to pursue their dreams.
But then suddenly, Maggie falls in love with the local newspaperman Bert Jefferson (Richard Travis).
Sherry is unhinged by Maggie’s declaration of love and fears that she will leave him and so he encourages his friend, the beautiful actress Lorraine Sheldon (Ann Sheridan) to visit him. He will use her to tempt Bert away from Maggie. Maggie had already given Sherry Bert’s screenplay to read and naughty Sherry tells Lorraine that there’s the perfect role in it for her.
Your Uncle Banjo Will Pull A Few Strings
Maggie asks for help from her friends Beverly Carlton and Banjo (Gardiner and Durante). She knows that Sherry is up to his old tricks and manipulating the situation between her and Bert to his own advantage. Sheridan’s character Lorraine Sheldon is a self centered and insecure actress. Entertaining and delightfully bad-tempered she is also pretty sharp minded but can she be duped by Beverly and Banjo?
Mr Stanley has a sister Harriet (Ruth Vivian) who creeps spookily into the movie a couple of times to see Mr Whiteside. He thinks he’s seen her before but Maggie tells him that’s impossible. The big reveal on that is shown at the end of the movie
Do the Stanley’s children return to their house? Is Maggie and Bert doomed to be split apart? Will Sherry read the doctor’s book, or Bert’s screenplay that Maggie thought was marvelous? Does Sherry’s hip mend in time to celebrate Christmas back in New York? And WHO IS Harriet??
Classic comedy movies – THE MAN THAT CAME TO DINNER features the fantastic character of Monty Woolley’s sarcastic and sharp tongued rapscallion Sherry and mixed with the humorous and charming story line will guarantee a superb movie experience.
So, grab your favourite snacks, get comfy and press play. You’re in for a fun and enjoyable ride.
Let’s have your comments on the movie, pop them below.
You don’t have to make a meal of it. 🍽
Respect to the Image Makers!