Wednesday, November 5, 2014

100 Words On... The Man Who Came to Dinner

George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, who wrote the play this film was adapted from, set a whole cupboardful of plates spinning in this madcap comedy. Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley), a razor-tongued metrosexual writer, falls during a visit to a bourgeois Midwestern couple and commandeers their home for the Christmas holidays while he recovers. Holding court in their parlor while his exiled hosts cower upstairs, Sherry receives famous visitors and outrĂ© gifts, hatches convoluted plots, and issues outrageous orders with the blithe assurance that they’ll be followed to the letter.

Woolley is irresistible as “a selfish, petty egomaniac who would just as soon see his mother burning at the stake, if that was the only way he had of lighting a cigarette,” as his secretary puts it. Playing that secretary, Bette Davis burns with her usual flinty ferocity, but she also unveils a delightfully musical laugh.

Written for The L Magazine

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