The Man Who Came to Dinner | Chicago Reader

The Man Who Came to Dinner

112 minutes 1941

The Kaufman and Hart Broadway hit was filmed by Warner Brothers in 1941, with Monty Woolley re-creating his stage performance as the sharp-tongued New York litterateur (the role was modeled on Alexander Woolcott, a radio personality who was the Gore Vidal of his time) forced to spend Christmas with a family in Ohio. From this frenetic, slapsticky staging, it's difficult to see what kept the New York audiences coming back; it's only Bette Davis, in the sole straight part, who manages to rise above the general atmosphere of laugh-begging desperation. With Ann Sheridan, Jimmy Durante, Reginald Gardner, Billie Burke, and Mary Wickes; William Keighley directed.

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