THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1941) B/W 112m dir: William Keighley
w/Bette Davis, Monty Wooley, Ann Sheridan, Richard Travis, Jimmy Durante, Reginald Gardiner, Billie Burke, Elisabeth Frasier, Grant Mitchell, George Barbier
Fast-paced fun with an all-star cast. Wooley re-creates his stage role, Sheridan Whiteside, patterned after venomous theater critic Alexander Woollcott. When this acid-tongued guest lecturer, on a cross-country tour, ends up in a wheelchair and must stay with the Stanley family of Ohio, he interferes, blackmails, lies, and runs roughshod over everyone there, including his long-suffering secretary (Davis) and a visiting Hollywood bombshell (Sheridan).
From The Movie Guide: "The celebrated John Barrymore had been slated for the [Whiteside] role but he had trouble with the dialogue. Luckily, another genuine movie star --- Bette Davis --- was eager to take a secondary role in this fanciful account of some thinly veiled real celebrities in an unlikely situation. Theater critic Alexander Woollcott, Harpo Marx and Noel Coward were among the brainy wits who met regularly at the Algonquin Hotel to exchange witticisms over lunch. Resourceful playwrights George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart utilized what they knew of the lunchers, placed them in a 'fish out of water' setting, and crafted a funny, acerbic play and film. ...
"Cynically witty lines, top-notch characterizations (Ann Sheridan is a delight), and welcome guest appearances by Jimmy Durante (as a Harpo Marx figure) and Reginald Gardiner (doing a take on Noel Coward) make for classic comedy."