Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The More the Merrier (1943).

The More the Merrier (1943).  Comedy. Cast: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Stanley Clements and Richard Gaines. Directed by George Stevens and written by Richard Flournoy, Lewis R. Foster, Garson Kanin (uncredited), Frank Ross (who was Jean Arthur's husband at the time), and Robert Russell.

Coburn won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, while Arthur was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Other nominations included Best Director, Best Picture, Best Writing, Original Story and Best Writing, Screenplay.

This film was remade in 1966 as Walk, Don't Run, with Cary Grant, Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton.

The story begins During World War II, when millionaire Benjamin Dingle arrives in Washington, D.C., as an adviser on the housing shortage and finds he he too has nowhere to stay. He looks in the classifieds and finds some one looking for a room mate, who turns out to be a young, Connie Milligan. Dingle has to do some "big talking", to convince her to let him stay, as she prefers to rent to a another girl.

A very cute scene when the two try to work around each other while getting ready for work. When Dingle is about to leave the apartment, he runs into Sergeant Joe Carter, who looking for a place to stay for a couple of days.. Dingle, thinks that Joe might be a good match for Connie and decides to rent him half of his half.

When Connie finds out about Joe, renting the other half of  Dingles room, she becomes angry and orders them both to leave. But is forced to let them both stay because she has already spent their rent money. Joe and Connie are attracted to each other, even though she is engaged to Charles J. Pendergast.  Dingle happens to meet Pendergast at a business luncheon and does not care for him. He decides that Joe would be a better match for Connie.

One day, Dingle gets a hold of Connie's private diary, including her thoughts about Joe. When she finds out, again.. she demands they both leave. Dingle accepts full blame for reading the diary and Connie allows Joe to stay the few more days before he has to leave.

Because of a nosy teenage neighbor, Joe and Connie are taken in for questioning as a suspected spies for the Japanese. When Dingle and Pendergast show up, it comes out that Joe and Connie are living in the same apartment. When they are released, the story reaches a reporter and Dingle advises them to get married to avoid a scandal and then have it annulled later. Will they follow his advice?

I  thought the film, The More the Merrier , was a very endearing movie. How can you go wrong with these three very charming leads.  They have great chemistry as a comic trio. Grady Sutton has a very funny cameo near the end of the film as a waiter.  One of my favorite romantic scenes is when McCrea,  gives a carrying case to Jean Arthur.  Here is another wonderful scene..

Charles Douville Coburn (June 19, 1877 – August 30, 1961), started out doing odd jobs at the local Savannah Theater. By the age of 17 or 18, he was the theater manager. He later became an actor, making his debut on Broadway in 1901. Coburn formed an acting company with Ivah Wills in 1905. They married in 1906.

After his wife's death in 1937, Coburn moved to Los Angeles, California and began film work. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a retired millionaire in the film, The More the Merrier (1943). He was also nominated for the film, The Devil and Miss Jones(1941) and The Green Years(1946). Other film credits include: Of Human Hearts (1938), The Lady Eve (1941), Kings Row (1942), The Constant Nymph (1943), Heaven Can Wait (1943), Wilson (1944), Impact (1949), The Paradine Case (1947), Everybody Does It (1950), Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and John Paul Jones (1959). He usually played comedic parts, but Kings Row and Wilson were dramatic parts, showing his versatility.

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