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 d... more »ining 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!« less
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. "
Great play, DVD edition needs improvement...
D. C. Squires | High in the sky traveling at Mach-2 | 03/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
A stage classic that holds up
Bill | Seattle, Washington United States | 04/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Come to Dinner!
cendrillion00 | Hummelstown, Pa. United States | 07/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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!"
Fun, Funny, Great
David Clarke | Huntsville,TX/Baytown, TX | 01/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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!"