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The Man Who Came to Dinner


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Product Details

  • Actors: Nathan Lane, Jean Smart, Harriet Sansom Harris, Jack Arendt, Jozef Fahey
  • Directors: Jay Sandrich
  • Writers: George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart
  • Producers: Jac Venza, Judy Kinberg, Steven Tabakin, Todd Haimes
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2012
  • Run Time: 166 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008975C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,798 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Man Who Came to Dinner" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of the most beloved American comedies comes to sparkling life in this fast-paced, stylish production starring Tony Award-winning Broadway favorite Nathan Lane (The Producers) and Jean Smart (Designing Women)! While dining at the midwestern home of the prominent Stanley family, noted critic and social celebrity Sheridan Whiteside slips on their doorstep and injures his hip, leaving the city slicker confined to the house for an outrageous six week recovery period which leads to cockroach farms, an octopus in the cellar, a dinner party with ex-convicts, "The Penguin" and more madcap mayhem! Written by the classic comedy team of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, this razor sharp farce remains pointed and side-splitting today. Pull up a few extra chairs and invite some guests for dinner and a show; the fun is about to begin!

Amazon.com

Nathan Lane practically explodes with bile as Sheridan Whiteside, a tyrannical radio celebrity who has been trapped in a Midwestern household by an injured hip. Whiteside rails entertainingly at the quavering family he's stuck with, but the play really kicks into motion when Whiteside's secretary, the only person who can stand to work with him, falls in love with a local newspaperman, forcing Whiteside to hatch a scheme to keep her by his side. Expertly crafted by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, The Man Who Came to Dinner zooms along. Lane (The Birdcage, Mouse Hunt) plays the part with his personality cranked up to 11--he rattles off each sneering barb with acid bombast. The production was originally broadcast live from Broadway, which gives it a genuine crackle of energy. Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson act as hosts, providing some historical background to this classic comedy. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

Nathan Lane is hilarious and Jean Smart really plays her part to the hilt.
M Roger
I think this would be great to see on stage with him, but on TV I like the original movie.
C. A. Luster
This is a fun filled Kaufman and Hart romp with some great character acting.
Paul

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Blu-ray Bill on April 21, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable staging of Kaufman and Hart play. Nathan Lane and Jean Smart, as you would expect, squeeze every possible laugh from their lines. They're wonderful.

One caveat: The play is filled with quick references to personalities of the period (the 1930s), and most of that might go right over some people's heads. But much of the comedy is timeless, so everyone is bound to enjoy it in the end.

There is more to this DVD than a previous reviewer would have you believe, but only a bit more. In the intermissions, there are some descriptions of the characters and whom they are based on. And there is an enjoyable segment with Kaufman's daughter and Hart's wife (the eternally graceful and charming Kitty Carlisle). The banter between Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson in these segments is weak, however. Essentially you're getting exactly the same thing you would have seen when this was broadcast.

We're fortunate to have had this performance captured on film, and I hope there will be more of the same.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Squires on March 13, 2003
Format: DVD
I first saw this live in 2000 on a local PBS affiliate and from the begining I knew it was an event. A few days ago I checked online to see if it was available and - joy - it was! On the DVD's release date I greedily went to my local (eegads!) video supplier and expecting a great treatment onto DVD paid FULL PRICE ...!!! (Something I almost never do...) I should've been patient and purchased it online with a discount. Don't make my mistake. The Hart/Kaufman farce has always held up and remains a great bit of comedic theater. Nathan Lane & Jean Smart are at top form and their timing is wonderful. The supporting cast is just as good.There are some problems with the transfer of the play to DVD, though. First off, the DVD is bare bones -- no history of the play ( except for the first act intermission break with Liam Neesan and Natasha Richardson), no commentary, not even a cast biography -- a shame. The sound is weak as well 2.0 surround, I believe. The picture quality is fantastic, though, even if it is full screen (yes, I know... it was on television that way and that's it's suppossed original aspect ratio -- 1.33.1).All in all, this is a fantastic, rollicking, "catty" rendering of the play and since there are so few of this caliber available to purchase it is a worthy addition to your home DVD collection. Hey, it's cheaper than a theater ticket! Maybe next time we'll get more for our money when it comes to extra features. Are you listening "Image Entertainment"? In closing...Imagine World Peace.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Clarke on January 3, 2007
Format: DVD
This recording from a recent production is amazing. Nathan Lane is great and larger than life, as usual. The rest of the cast does wonderful jobs. This is a treasure!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By cendrillion00 on July 26, 2003
Format: DVD
This is my favorite play of all time and it's all because of this production/video. Nathan Lane is my absolute favorite actor ever and he is perfection in this show. The material is quick and comical but there are also great moments of heart. Every cast member embodies their part and one can tell that they are enjoying themselves in the act. Harriet Harris plays secretary, matching wits and glares with Lane's 'Sherry'. Jean Smart plays a Broadway actress who gives her best (and most frequent) performances in the bedroom; Byron Jennings is the arrogantly lovable Beverly Carlton; and Lewis Stadlen is Banjo- a wacky Hollywood director who at times during his performance channels Jimmy Durante-the movie counterpart. The narrations done by Natasha Richardson and Liam Niasson are ok to sit through once but during repeat watchings they can be skipped over. I have watched this many times over and I'm still laughing. Kauffman and Hart's words have found their true home with this ensemble!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tasha on August 5, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Scene stealing performance by Byron Jennings"

I gave this DVD version of the play 5 stars simply for the scene stealing performance by Byron Jennings. He is truly amazing as Beverley Carlton. This is not to be missed by anyone who appreciates uncommonly gifted acting.

Nathan Lane as Sheridan Whiteside is the perfect foil for him. His line about the Lindbergh baby is hilarious, and Byron Jennings' reaction is well in tune with Nathan Lane's humor. It's rare to watch actors who are so much in sync with each other. Too often a film or play will feature great talent playing opposite mediocre talent. Speaking of which, the actress who plays Sheridan Whiteside's secretary is not of their caliber and detracts from their performance.

The play's greatest weakness is that Mr. Jennings appears in just one scene. Still, it's amazing enough to be worth the cost of purchase.

It's so unfortunate that American film and theater productions place greater value on perfectly photogenic looks, rather than exceptional talent. If only film and theater goers were able to recognize substance and depth of character, they would be able to look beyond the shallowness and one dimensional "acting" that is so routinely foisted on us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Thompson on December 19, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this filming of the stage production. It crackles much more than the movie version, which I found strangely uninvolving. I liked Nathan Lane much better than Monty Wooley (the film's Sheridan), and the other actors do fine work.

There have been some minor changes made along the way in Acts 1 & 2, but changes are much more extensive in Act 3. The character of Banjo is modeled here on Jimmy Durante, who did it in the movie. The film's choice of Durante must have been for contractual reasons, as Harpo Marx (the original stage play's model) was very much alive at the time. I found Durante annoying in the role, not the crazed presence Banjo is in the show.

In any event, this version of the play goes the Durante route, with a heavy re-writing of Act 3 (where Banjo appears). There's long stretches of boredom and a downright tedious sequence shortly after his entrance. Inasmuch as Lewis J. Stadlen is very familiar with the Marx Brothers (he even did a one-man show as Groucho), I don't know why they went this path. The result is a downward spiral that is only saved by Lane and Jean Smart. If the rest of the show were like Act 3, it would get just two (weak) stars. Thankfully, it isn't.

This version is better than the film, but it could have been much better had they stayed with the original concept. Hart and Kaufman knew what they were doing; these folks should have trusted them.
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