Although most of George S. Kaufman's comedies were turned into movies (always without his participation or supervision), he did write the screenplays to two classic comedies, as well as directing an underappreciated political comedy starring William Powell.


Eddie Cantor plays a meek museum janitor in upstate New York who is transported back to the heady days of Ancient Rome. Kaufman and Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright Robert E. Sherwood collaborated on the story, filmed by Samuel Goldwyn productions.

Available on VHS: MGM (2000).


Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, who collaborated on the Marx Brothers first two films, wrote what is generally regarded as their finest film. As The New Yorker put it, "The Marx Brothers do to "Il Trovatore" what should be done to "Il Trovatore."" Include the "sanity clause" contract scene, and the stateroom scene.

Available on Warner Home Video DVD (2004).


Although MGM producer Irving Thalberg had offered Kaufman a directing contract in the 1930s, it was not until 1947 that Kaufman directed his first picture, scripted by Charles MacArthur and Nunnally Johnson. William Powell plays a powerful senator running for president who gets caught in a compromising position.

Out of print on VHS.

Selected film and television versions of George S. Kaufman plays:

  • Beggar on Horseback (1925)
  • The Butter and Egg Man (1928)
  • The Cocoanuts (1929)
  • Animal Crackers (1930)
  • The Royal Family of Broadway (1930) (The Royal Family)
  • June Moon (1931)
  • The Tenderfoot (1932) (The Butter and Egg Man)
  • Make Me a Star (1932) (Merton of the Movies)
  • Once in a Lifetime (1932)
  • Dinner at Eight (1933)
  • Stage Door (1937)
  • First Lady (1937)
  • You Can't Take It with You (1938) Sony DVD 2003
  • The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
  • George Washington Slept Here (1942)
  • Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) (sketch: "If Men Played Cards as Women Do") Universal DVD 2002
  • The Late George Apley (1947)
  • Merton of the Movies (1947)
  • The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956) Sony DVD 2003
  • Silk Stockings (1957)
  • Of Thee I Sing (1972) (TV)
  • The Man Who Came to Dinner (1972) (TV)
  • June Moon (1974) (TV) (
  • The Royal Family (1977) (TV)
  • You Can't Take It with You (1979) (TV)
  • You Can't Take It with You (1984) (TV)
  • Dinner at Eight (1989) (TV)
  • The Man Who Came to Dinner (2000) (TV)