The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941) Film Review

The Man Who Came to Dinner
DIRECTOR: William Keighley from a screenplay by Philip G. Epstein and Julius J. Epstein.
 Monty Wooley delights himself and his audience by playing the impossibly pompous Sheridan Whiteside in William Keighley’s wonderful 1941 adaptation of George Kauffman/Moss Hart’s play “The Man Who Came to Dinner”.
While passing through small-town Ohio during a cross-country lecture tour Whiteside breaks his hip after slipping and falling on the icy steps of the house of the Stanleys, a prominent Ohio family with whom he’s supposed to dine as a publicity stunt. He insists on recuperating in their home during the Christmas holidays.
The character of Whiteside is based on the playwrights’ good friend, the theatre critic Alexander Woollcott. Bette Davis is perfection playing Whiteside’s long-suffering yet understanding secretary. It’s one of her few comedic roles and it makes you wonder why she didn’t do more.
The wonderful supporting cast includes Ann Sheridan, nicely parodying herself, Richard Travis as Miss Davis’ love interest, the irrepressible Jimmy Durante singing “Did You Ever Have the Feeling That You Wanted to Go, And Still Have the Feeling That You Wanted to Stay?”, Mary Wickes as Nurse Preen who has the unenviable task of nursing Whiteside back to health, Reginald Gardiner does a parody of Noel Coward, and Billie Burke and Grant Mitchell as the unfortunate Mr. and Mrs. Stanley.

I am not only walking out on this case, Mr. Whiteside, I am leaving the nursing profession. I became a nurse because all my life, ever since I was a little girl, I was filled with the idea of serving a suffering humanity. After one month with you , Mr. Whiteside, I am going to work in a munitions factory. From now on , anything I can do to help exterminate the human race will fill me with the greatest of pleasure. If Florence Nightingale had ever nursed YOU, Mr. Whiteside, she would have married Jack the Ripper instead of founding the Red Cross! (sic)

Nurse Preen (Mary Wickes)
POST TITLE: 55 Queer Films Made Under the Hays Code (1934-1967) (Part 1) – TheBrownees
CATEGORY: My Favorites
STREAMING: Amazon Prime and Apple TV+

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