The More the Merrier


The More the Merrier

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 17


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,303
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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.

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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
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Critic Reviews for The More the Merrier

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for The More the Merrier

  • Jul 19, 2018
    I've fallen in love with Jean Arthur. She is funny, cute, romantic, and utterly charming in this film. Her hair and outfits are exquisite. The way she moves her body is so endearing, in everything from getting out of a car, to skipping around her apartment in madcap moments, to dancing. I love the little squeak in her voice and the fact that she was 43 when this film was made. Her reaction to being kissed on the neck on the steps outside, my god. What an incredibly steamy scene. Oh yeah, and Joel McCrea was great too. :) He plays his part with a perfect touch, drawing on the seriousness of wartime, goofing around with Charles Coburn, and unable to stop a growing attraction to Arthur, but at the same time, with a degree of understatement and reserve. He's a gentleman, but damn, those hands and his moves in that scene on the steps. Did I mention that scene? Another great one is when he gives her a fancy travel bag and then shows her all of its various features - they are both just so natural, and one feels their interest in each other simmering in their terrible nearness. He accidentally marks his nose sniffing a makeup container, and it was quite clever of director George Stevens to leave it on his face for as long as he did. I also loved when they both secretly hoped her fiancé (Richard Gaines) wouldn't call by 8 pm, so that they could go out together instead. Charles Coburn is quite a character in this film as well, impish and bold, while cleverly playing matchmaker between the two. The banter between Coburn and McCrea is as good as the banter each have with Arthur. Coburn's performance was worthy of the best supporting actor Oscar he won. Stevens has a great sense of flow, balances the comedic and romantic elements perfectly, and gives us lots of little eye candy on top of it. The wartime song at the end was a nice touch too. Highly recommended.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 2014
    This was likely done to distract folks from the War but it actually is quite good. I found the chemistry between Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea to be excellent. It's funny...I don't know if I have ever encountered this crew on another picture. You figure they would have shown their value with this effort.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 15, 2012
    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. W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2012
    This was just hilarious. If you like classic comedies then this must be on your watch list. At first I was thinking of giving this a low review but it started to pick up towards the end. Once I decided to rate this online I found out that it was nominated for best picture at Oscars. Man I'm good. The plot to this was good and it seemed as if it was difficult to come up with. The idea that one guy plays Cupid towards a couple was genius. It doesn't sound that hard to think up but the events that lead toward the end result where the parts that are hard to think up when writing. I also really enjoyed the acting. I seemed to switch back and forth from funny acting to serious acting. That's not a bad part but not so good either. That part at the end where Joe Carter walked into Connie Milligain's room just hit me. How did he get in their if there was a wall separating them. You have to watch this to find out that's if you haven't already.
    Eduardo T Super Reviewer

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