At the height of World War II there was an acute housing shortage in our nation's capital. Being the patriotic sort Constance Milligan (Jean Arthur) decided to do what thousands of other Washingtonians did during those hectic years.....sublet her apartment. She put a small ad in the local newspaper and dozens of folks showed up on her doorstep to inquire. Now Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) was a retired millionaire who was in town to advise government officials on how to ease the housing crunch and paradoxically found himself without a place to stay. Mr. Dingle also saw Constance Milligan's ad in the paper and through a combination of deception, persistence and persusion was able to finagle his way into sharing this apartment against the better judgement of his landlady. Constance's instincts were dead on. Dingle would prove to be a meddling old busybody and a constant thorn in her side. George Stevens' 1943 madcap comedy "The More The Merrier" tells the hilarious story just what happened over the next few days. And in the end Constance Milligan would get more than she bargained for....much more!
Benjamin Dingle had barely settled into his half of the apartment when he started asking Constance some pretty personal questions. She had just recorded the following entry into her diary: "Wednesday... just rented half of apartment to funny old man named Dingle. At least someone around to break the silence." It seems as though Dingle had sized up his new roommate pretty quickly and fairly accurately. He wondered why Constance was not married and opined that she should hook up with "a high type, clean-cut young fellow". Then Dingle asked her if she kept a diary. She answered with an emphatic "No!". To which Mr. DIngle replied "There are two kinds of people Miss Milligan. Those who don't do what they want to do so they write down in a diary about what they haven't done and those who are too busy to write about it because they are out doing it." Ouch! The plot thickens the next day when one of those them there "high type, clean cut young fellows" shows up looking for a place to stay. Dingle takes matters into his own hands and sublets his half of the apartment to a soldier named Sergeant Joe Carter (Joel McCrea) who is in town for just a few days before shipping out to an overseas assignment. And as you might expect all hell breaks loose when Constance learns of this arrangement. After she catches Dingle reading her diary she tosses him out on his ear but winds up agreeing to let Joe Carter stay for just a few more days. It turns out Benjamin Dingle was right. Sparks fly and Joe and Connie fall in love.
"The More The Merrier" turns out to be yet another extremely entertaining film from Hollywood's Golden Age. Once again, Jean Arthur turns in a stellar performance. I could not take me eyes off her. She really is the classic "girl next door" and I have become a huge fan over the past few years. I now own most of the films she appeared in. Charles Coburn is delightful as Dingle and Joel McCrea does a workmanlike job in the role of Joe Carter. If you love films from this era you will certainly enjoy "The More The Merrier". Highly recommended!
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The More the Merrier is a 1943 comedy film made by Columbia Pictures which makes fun of the World War II time housing shortage, especially in Washington, D.C.. It stars Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Stanley Clements and Richard Gaines. The movie was directed by George Stevens and written by Richard Flournoy, Lewis R. Foster, Garson Kanin (uncredited), Frank Ross, Jr., who was Jean Arthur's husband at the time, and Robert Russell.
The More the Merrier won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Charles Coburn, and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Jean Arthur, Best Director, Best Picture, Best Writing, Original Story and Best Writing, Screenplay.
During World War II, retired millionaire Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) arrives in Washington, D.C. as an adviser on the housing shortage and finds that his hotel suite will not be available for two days. He sees an ad for a roommate and talks the reluctant young woman, Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur), into letting him sublet half of her apartment. Then he runs into Sergeant Joe Carter (Joel McCrea), who has no place to stay while he waits to be shipped overseas. Dingle generously rents him half of his half.
When Connie finds out about the new arrangement, she orders them both to leave, but is forced to relent because she has already spent their rent money. Joe and Connie are attracted to each other, ...