The More the Merrier

1943

The More the Merrier (1943)

TOMATOMETER

——

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

AUDIENCE SCORE


Want to See

Not Interested

Add Rating
My Rating    

The More the Merrier Photos

Movie Info

To fully appreciate The More the Merrier, it is important to know that, during WW2, there was an acute housing shortage in Washington DC. This is why elderly Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) is obliged to share a tiny DC apartment with pretty Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur) and handsome Joe Carter (Joel McCrea). After nearly two reels of misunderstandings, the trio becomes accustomed to their curious living arrangement. Joe takes a platonic liking to Connie, but she's engaged to stuffy bureaucrat Charles J. Pendergast (Richard Gaines). Sizing up the situation, foxy Benjamin contrives to bring Connie and Joe together, in spite of themselves. Things get dicey when Joe endeavors to complete a top-secret mission for the Air Force, which leads to all sorts of comic complications and misguided remonstrations. Throughout the film, director George Stevens and the four-man screenwriting staff deliberately tweak the noses of the Hays Office, getting by with any number of censorable offenses by deftly and tastefully sidestepping the obvious. Especially potent is the scene in which Joe tries to seduce Connie by talking about everything except seduction: it's also fun to watch Dingle robustly repeat the word "Damn" over and over, getting away with this breach of censorship because he's quoting Admiral "Damn the Torpedoes" Farragut. An Academy Award went to Charles Coburn, while nominations were bestowed upon Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, George Stevens, the screenwriters, and the film itself. The More the Merrier was remade in 1966 as Walk Don't Run, with Cary Grant, Jim Hutton and Samantha Eggar.

Watch it now

Cast

Joel McCrea
as Joe Carter
Charles Coburn
as Benjamin Dingle
Jean Arthur
as Connie Milligan
Richard Gaines
as Charles J. Pendergast
Clyde Fillmore
as Sen. Noonan
Stanley Clements
as Morton Rodakiewicz
Don Douglas
as Harding
Ann Savage
as Miss Dalton
Ann Doran
as Miss Bilby
Mary Treen
as Waitress
Gladys Blake
as Barmaid
Kay Linaker
as Miss Allen
Robert E. Hill
as Head Waiter
Nancy Gray
as Miss Chasen
Byron Shores
as Air Corps Captain
Betzi Beaton
as Miss Finch
Bob McKenzie
as Southerner
Victor Potel
as Cattleman
Lon Poff
as Character
Frank LaRue
as Senator
Douglas Wood
as Senator
Betty McMahan
as Miss Geeskin
Helen Holmes
as Dumpy Woman
Marshall Ruth
as Fat Statistician
Hal Gerard
as 2nd Statistician
Jack Carr
as Taxi Driver
Chester Clute
as Hotel Clerk
Robert F. Hill
as Head Waiter
Eddy Chandler
as Police Captain
David Ward
as Waiter
George H. Reed
as Caretaker
Kitty McHugh
as Taxi Driver
View All

Critic Reviews for The More the Merrier

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4)

A sparkling and effervescing piece of entertainment.

Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Despite a belated drift towards sentimentality, this remains a refreshingly intimate movie.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

As warm and refreshing a ray of sunshine as we've had in a very late Spring.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Stevens moves things along a lot more briskly than is usual for him.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

A gossamer-weight, charming film about how very awful it is to have the war fill every minute of your waking world - I don't know how that alchemy works, but it's sublime.

Sep 16, 2018 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Hilarious screwball comedy.

Feb 10, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The More the Merrier

½

George Stevens' comic war-at-home tale about the housing and man shortage in Washington D.C. that works principally because of the chemistry of its cast, particularly Charles Coburn as a businessman turned Cupid. Joel McCrea is the standard stalwart male lead, and Jean Arthur is wonderful as the woman whose friendship is more important than how she looks. Some nice screwball bits in here.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Although there were a couple of movies with this same story, I enjoyed this one. The actors are good and the movie is very funny.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

½

starts off screwball and ends somewhat sappily. it's easy to see the template for every lame romantic comedy in these old films. the cast is delightful: hilarious charles coburn who won an oscar for this role, the underrated joel mccrea and always charming jean arthur; 43 (!) and still adorable

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

½

Great screwball comedy! The map and schedule bit near the beginning is one of the best bits of comedy business I've seen. Jean Arthur is lovely but a little bit of a wallflower too. Joel McCrea is tall, dark, and mysterious. Charles Coburn is so wacky with his repeated catchphrases, "eight girls to every fella," and "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Gaines as Pendergast is as square as they come complete with awful hair piece. The movie seems a little rough around the edges as if it was under-rehearsed. Especially Jean Arthur, who seems to be stumbling with quite a few of her lines. But it works for this movie, as the action looks more live theatre and spur of the moment, and Jean Arthur's character appears more real. Some of the best situation comedy and verbal jabs in the screwball genre!

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

The More the Merrier Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features