The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941)

Comedy, Romance
Bette Davis, Monty Woolley, Mary Wickes, Ann Sheridan
In the lead up to Christmas, famed New York-based national radio host and general man about town Sheridan Whiteside is on a national speaking tour, traveling by train, the schedule for him to make it to Los Angeles in time for his traditional Christmas Eve broadcast. Despite his beloved public image, he is a difficult, acerbic-tongued man who always needs to get his own way, he using his bluster often to get it. His longtime faithful secretary, spinster Maggie Cutler, is arguably the only person who can handle him when he gets on his tirades, she who in turn uses her own straightforward manner to control him for her own needs in getting her job done. As such, he hates to admit that he considers her indispensable. Sherry has disdain for this tour if only needing to kowtow to all the, what he considers, backward yokels, especially through Middle America, those living in their first stop, Mesalia, Ohio, being no exception, there where he is to have dinner with the town's leading family, the Stanleys, upon arriving. It is on the Stanleys' icy front steps that Sherry slips, falls and ends up being incapacitated, temporarily wheelchair-bound. In return for not suing the Stanleys, Sherry, with Maggie in tow, ends up staying at the Stanley house until he is able enough to continue with his travels, he overtaking the Stanley house with his usual bluster in the process. The situation is much to the consternation of the family patriarch, Ernest Stanley, who doesn't care about Sherry's celebrity in comparison to the disruption he is to their lives. By the time Sherry has fully recuperated, Maggie has fallen in love with Bert Jefferson, the town's newspaper man and an aspiring playwright, and wants to give up her life with Sherry to become Mrs. Bert Jefferson. Sherry doesn't feel he can afford to lose Maggie, and concocts a plan to keep her in his employ, especially as he truly but mistakenly believes that Maggie is suffering from puppy love and not true love and will snap out of it once out of Bert's life. The plan includes Sherry not telling anyone that he has recovered, he miraculously doing so at the plan's completion, and using the somewhat unwitting assistance of his successful actress friend, Lorraine Sheldon, a diva and status-hungry woman who is to use her charms and professional sway on Bert.—Huggo
  • 1941-12-24 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • N/A Writer:
  • William Keighley Director:
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