Tuesday, December 30, 2014

FORGOTTEN MOVIES: THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER




From 1942 and based on the play, THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, this one has a large cast led by Monty Woolery, Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan. I have seen the stage play and the movie is basically the same one-set affair. A world-renowned critic finds himself laid up at a stranger's house, takes over, and comes to like his situation a little too much. For some reason, I didn't find this as charming as I remembered and thought Bette Davis was wasted although Ann extracted what she could from her role. Maybe I was just too grinchy to enjoy it.

12 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Interesting how the same film can make different impressions at different times in our lives...

Deb said...

Oh, this is one of our family favorites--although the actor who plays the love interest is as wooden as a pair of clogs and I could do without Jimmy Durante's hammy exploits--but all in all we have a fun time watching it, especially the criminally-underused Ann Sheridan. I suppose movies are like books in that you never see the same one twice--you're always a different person when you see it the next time.

Kelly Robinson said...

I've never seen the film, but I've seen the play about a dozen times. Seems like every theatrical company does it at least once.

Charles Gramlich said...

Testing

Charles Gramlich said...

How weird. The letters do not show up as I type but they show up in when I post.

George said...

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER does show its age, but I find it amusing nonetheless. Like Deb, I could do without Jimmy Durante's antics.

Deb said...

It's like he wandered in from another movie, did his tiresome schtick, and left. Other than shoving Ann Sheridan into a sarcophagus, he does absolutely nothing in the movie except drain the air out if every scene he's in!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't think he ever played anyone other than himself and he really throws it off here.

R.T. said...

Maybe the movie's warts can be attributed to the old studio contract system; actors -- good, bad, and ugly -- found themselves in the oddest roles in the oddest movies.

But if we consider the contexts and era for the movie, it has everything it needed to have to be simply entertaining in both some sophisticated and unsophisticated ways. It was, after all, simply entertainment. Now it has become a TCM cable/satellite staple. And who doesn't need a mindless TCM fix every now and then. (Note: even as I put these words onto the screen, the old King Kong film is showing on TCM. Now that's entertainment!)

Cap'n Bob said...

I have a soft spot in my head for this because I did it in college. I played the doctor (and did a heck of a better job than the guy in the movie if I say so myself).

Our Durante character was done by a guy who did an excellent Groucho Marx.

As for the lovely Ann Sheridan, keep an eye on her blouse. There's nothing under it but primo Ann.

Ron Scheer said...

Maybe it's my age, and I remember Durante from movies and TV, but I really like his OTT performance in this film. Davis and Sheridan are, however, wasted in the film; I agree.

Bradley Walker said...

FWIW, Durante's character was based on Harpo Marx. (Whiteside was supposed to be Alexander Woollcott, and who remembers him?) One critic said he thought it'd have been an improvement had Davis and Sheridan played each others' characters.