Thursday, December 2, 2010
The More The Merrier (1943) is good whimsical fun
Delightful comedy set during the WW2 housing shortage in Washington, DC.
Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur) rents an apartment. Believing it to be her patriotic duty, Connie offers to sublet half of her apartment, fully expecting a suitable female tenent. But instead she gets a mischievous, middle-aged man named Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn). Dingle talks her into subletting to him and then promptly sublets half of his half to young, irreverent Joe Carter (Joel McCrea). Then the rest of the movie has Dingle playing matchmaker for Connie and Joe. This is a top notch comedy that was one of several similarly themed movies. The others include Pillow to Post with Ida Lupino and The Doughgirls with Jane Wyman and Ann Sheridan. The More The Merrier makes good use of it's talented cast with Jean Arthur, who by this time is a skilled comedienne thanks to earlier films such as The Devil and Miss Jones, and Easy Living. She makes it look so easy. Charles Coburn is also a delight as the meddlesome Dingle. And Joel McCrea, who had his share of other classic comedies such as The Palm Beach Story and Sullivan's Travels is pretty good too. And in the hands of skilled director George Stevens, everything clicks like a well oiled machine.