"Please stand back, I have several contagious diseases."
- Sheridan Whiteside (MONTY WOOLLEY)
"Don't tell me how you are, Sherry, I want none of the tiresome details. I've very little time, and so the conversation will be entirely about me, and I shall love it. Shall I tell you how I glittered through the South Seas like a silver scimitar, or would you rather hear how I finished a three-act play with one hand and made love to a maharaja's daughter with the other'"
"I am now going upstairs to disconnect my radio, so that not even accidentally will I ever hear your voice again!"
- Mr. Stanley (GRANT MITCHELL) to Sheridan Whiteside (MONTY WOOLLEY)
"This aging debutante, Mr. Jefferson, I retain in my employ only because she is the sole support of her two-headed brother."
- Sheridan Whiteside (MONTY WOOLLEY) introducing his secretary to Bert Jefferson (RICHARD TRAVIS)
"Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go' And still get the feeling that you wanted to stay'"
- Banjo (JIMMY DURANTE) singing a song
"The greatest living argument for mercy killing."
- Sheridan Whiteside (MONTY WOOLLEY) describing his doctor
"You have the touch of a love-starved cobra."
- Sheridan Whiteside (MONTY WOOLLEY) to Miss Preen (MARY WICKES)
"My Great Aunt Jennifer ate a box of chocolates every day of her life. She lived to be a hundred and two, and when she had been dead three days she looked healthier than you do now."
- Sheridan Whiteside (MONTY WOOLLEY) to Miss Preen (MARY WICKES) when she won't let him eat chocolates
"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 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!"
- Miss Preen (MARY WICKES) to Sheridan Whiteside (MONTY WOOLLEY)
"I'se jes' a little wabbit in the sunshine, I'se jes' a little wabbit in the wain."
- ditty sung by Sheridan Whiteside (MONTY WOOLLEY)
Description by OLDIES.com:
Famed author Sheridan Whiteside possesses a tongue dipped in venom and a brain that can crack The New York times crossword in four minutes. On a lecture tour in Ohio, he slips on the ice and is confined to the home of a bourgeois couple. He proceeds to plunge the household into chaos, ruling the place like a czar and meddling in everyone's love life. Monty Woolley reprises his Broadway triumph as the imperious Whiteside in this delightful, lightning-paced farce. A who's who of Hollywood talents portray a who's who of thinly veiled real-life luminaries ranging from Gertrude Lawrence to Harpo Marx. And Bette Davis shines in an uncharacteristic role as Whiteside's unflappable secretary. The Man Who Came to dinner: it's a feast of wit and sophistication.
A pompous writer and critic forced to stay with a midwestern family during the winter thoroughly disrupts their well-ordered lives. Original play (1939) by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.
This hilariously witty satire contains caricatures of many famous celebrities -- Alexander Woollcott, Gertrude Lawrence, Noël Coward, Harpo Marx, and various members of New York's Algonquin Round Table. While on his way to dinner at a suburban family's home, Sheridan Whiteside, an insufferably arrogant radio personality, accidentally falls and breaks his hip. Then the unwelcome, barbed-tongued guest stays on in their abode while he recovers. And, along with an offbeat cast of characters who come to visit him, he proceeds to drive his hosts round the bend!
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This film was based on a Broadway play, which also inspired a musical, "Sherry," in 1967.
John Barrymore was the original actor chosen to play the lead character, Sheridan Whiteside, but he was replaced because he had difficulty remembering his lines. This trouble was attributed to a drinking problem. He died shortly thereafter; it would have been his last film appearance.
Bette Davis persuaded Warner Brothers to buy the property, "The Man Who Came to Dinner," with the intention of co-starring with John Barrymore. She was unconcerned about his ability to remember lines, and felt that he should have played the role anyway. Davis had agreed to continue with him ad-libbing.
Monty Woolley, who took the lead role, had also starred in the stage production as Sheridan Whiteside.
Clifton Webb appeared in the national company's touring production of "The Man Who Came to Dinner."
Last film appearance for actress Laura Hope Crews, who died in 1942.
Film debuts for actors Richard Travis, Mary Wickes, and Russell Arms.
Additional cast: Russell Arms (Richard Stanley), Ruth Vivian (Harriet), Edwin Stanley (John), Betty Roadman (Sarah), Nanette Vallon (Cosette).
Turner Entertainment made a computer-colored version of this film.
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