About Christmas TV History

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Guest That Would Never Leave

SET YOUR DVRs: for Saturday, 12/19 at 8pm (EST) for Turner Classic Movies channel for 1942's The Man Who Came to Dinner.

If you saw my earlier post, you may know that I call this black-and-white classic one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. Originally a Broadway hit on the stage, the film is adapted from the play written by legends George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

It's a wonderful comedy about a horrible, devilish tyrant of a celebrity houseguest that has overstayed his welcome and just won’t leave. His meddling, selfish schemes drive everyone in the household into chaos over the Christmas holiday. Multiple story lines interweave in this fast paced witty plot--you’ll love it the more times you watch it! See actress Bette Davis in one of her few comedy roles, Jimmy Durante entertains with a song and the actress best remembered for her role as Glinda the Good Witch in 1939’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ appears here as the dizzy wife.

The film is filled with pop culture references to its day: the character of the horrible houseguest, Sheridan Whiteside was based on real-life critic, writer, and radio personality, the acerbic Alexander Woolcott; Banjo is based on the horny, rambunctious Harpo Marx; and,the stylish and witty Beverly is modeled after Noel Coward. Even if you have no idea about the pop culture references--it makes no difference. The film is still charming and hilarious enough without catching all the added layers of meaning.

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