The More the Merrier - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The More the Merrier Reviews

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½ January 26, 2016
One of the great 40s screwball comedies. The three stars are favorites of mine from the period, and I've enjoyed it several times.
May 18, 2015
delightful rom-com about the Washington DC housing shortage during WWII.
May 10, 2015
Although it is sometimes annoying, the ending is predictable and too emotional and the humor is hit-or-miss, but when it is good, it's very funny with some charming situations and lines. The characters are extremely likable and well developed, the story is fun and the acting is superb all around with Jean Arthur giving a powerhouse performance absolutely shining in hear lead role. It is weird and at times quite polarizing, but the More the Merrier is mostly a good and above all entertaining film that is beautifully charming bringing smile to your face and it is wonderful and refreshing to see a good screwball comedy from the forties.
April 2, 2015
Starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn. Delightful romantic comedy set against the backdrop of the Washington, D.C. housing shortage during WWII. Arthur reluctantly agrees to rent half of her apartment to aging businessman Coburn, and he promptly rents half of his half to munitions engineer McCrea. The sparks soon fly, and inevitably, McCrea and Arthur fall in love. This was the last film directed by George Stevens before going off to war, and like many of his contemporaries his post-war efforts were much darker, more serious affairs. This film, though, is absolutely delightful.
½ January 15, 2014
Jean Arthur is one my favorites. Charles Coburn and Joel McCrea helping out. Screwball delight
Super Reviewer
January 2, 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.
½ December 28, 2013
Continuing on the Xmas old movie spree is this forgotten gem from 1943. The war is on and Washington DC is going through a horrible housing shortage, which leads Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur) to advertise for tenants. Enter one Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn), a rascally old rogue who ends up subletting his half of the apartment to Joe Carter (Joel McCrea) without informing Connie. From this set up, TMtM fashions one of the sweetest and surprisingly sexy movies of the entire war. Do yourself a favor and track it down or, to quote the inimitable Mr. Dingle, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! That was what Admiral Farragut said."
May 13, 2013
Not once have I recommended a film that inspired a remake with Cary Grant starring. Once you have a Cary Grant version there is no need to go back. This would be the first. Cary Grant's Walk Don't Run was a remake of The More the Merrier and they both stand equally sturdy in their time. It helps that the character Cary Grant made in the 60s was originated by Charles Coburn. Coburn playing Mr. Dingle adds a fatherly role absent in the Cary Grant version. I will always think of Grant as handsome and leading man. Coburn, immediately, was the elderly man with a few pranks up his sleeve to encourage the chemistry between Milligan (Jean Arthur) and Carter (Joel McCrae). This plot was entiely new when The More the Merrier was made which adds to the richness of its stamp on history; Walk Don't Run was not new, just redone.
I believe that the element that stitched this movie together so perfectly was the actors in it. There is nothing extraordinary about the filming style or the themes, its your simple romantic comedy, so I'll stick to the acting. Nobody but McCrae could fall in love with Arthur in less than a week and nobody but Coburn could convince McCrae that he pursue after Arthur as well as poke Arthur into being romanced by McCrae. Coburn, he was the magic of the movie, all applause is due him. "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" He's a cupid without a bow and wings so his words and slapstick timing are the fuel to put in motion this zany but sweet story of a fully crowded apartment and the lovebirds inside.
April 30, 2013
Enjoyable, eccentric comedy. It does get a bit too sweet towards the end but not too much.
October 24, 2012
it's worth to watch :)
August 9, 2012
This movie is hilarious! This one should have been listed with the most popular of vintage movies & yet I've never even heard of it before.
½ June 3, 2012
Don't You Know There's a War On?

We'll get to the plot in a minute; the plot is a surprising one, given when this movie was made, but at least it's expressly completely innocent, and there's a chaperone present pretty much the whole time the two young characters are sharing an apartment. However, the thing which I'm surprised Joe Breen let past is the most famous quote of Admiral David Farragut, spoken at the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. The bay had been mined by the Confederates, and one of his officers expressed concern that they would be entering an area full of what were then known as torpedoes. "Damn the torpedoes," Farragut is supposed to have said, "full speed ahead." And they quote that line so often in this movie that I think its current rating would probably be PG or higher, much less getting past the Code restrictions at all. Maybe Breen wouldn't have kicked up a fuss over a biopic, but they sing it in a cheerful little song at the end of this!

It is World War II Washington, DC. Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) is in town on business, and so is everyone else. The housing crisis is so acute that the paper seems to only have one room listed for rent; it's a person looking for a roommate, and when Dingle gets there, a dozen or more people are already lined up outside. He tricks them into thinking that the room is taken, then persuades Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur) into letting him rent it even though she'd planned to limit the choices to other women. And then the next day, Joe Carter (Joel McCrea)comes looking for a place, and Dingle sublets his sublet, renting Joe half his room. Without mentioning anything to Connie, of course. Connie, too, is engaged to one Charles J. Pendergast (Richard Gaines), who is in charge of the housing situation in the city. You don't have to have seen a lot of romantic comedies to assume that she will not still be engaged to Mr. Pendergast at the end of the picture.

I read recently that Eleanor Roosevelt thought that the housing situation was an important part of wartime preparedness and that nobody much agreed with her. She thought it was important that factory workers have access to proper housing, in no small part because she thought there was no point in fighting for democracy abroad if you weren't taking care of it at home. She thought letting defense workers live in slums was a bad idea. In fact, quite a lot of people lived in the White House because it was easier than finding their own housing; when Winston Churchill came for a visit, they crowded his whole delegation in as well. (I also learned that, when Dingle mentions that the food at the White House is terrible, he isn't wrong.) Of course, not everyone in Washington needed to be there. Still, it's not as though you can limit access to the city to people who have business with the government, and even if you had, there were too many of those for the available housing. That was true in a lot of places.

It's worth noting that Mr. Pendergast isn't totally odious. He's kind of bland. He's very stuffy. He's probably paying more attention to the pressure put on him by big business than really worrying about the needs of people. However, he's not all that bad. Nowhere near as bad as the significant others to be shed in most romantic comedies. He's all wrong for Connie, of course, but that goes without saying. It also feels a bit as though she has suppressed certain of her impulses to be the kind of woman that he would accept as Mrs. Pendergast. Dingle and Joe are reading [i]Dick Tracy[/i] aloud together, and even though they are very amusing, Connie lectures them for their childishness. She has considerably more right to be angry at them for reading her diary, but either way, she's clearly trying to stand on her dignity at least in part because she's afraid that Mr. Pendergast won't marry her if he realizes that she has a silly streak.

During World War II, huge amounts of the culture revolved around the war itself. Probably more so than just about any other era in US history. Yes, there was a certain amount of escapism, but even some of the escapism involved the war. Bugs Bunny gamboling in the Black Forest, for example. And, yes, there's this. Joe is going off to war in just a few days; in any other time, he would just find a hotel room, but he ends up rooming with Connie because there are no hotel rooms left in Washington. There are a dozen guys camped out in the vestibule of the apartment building, and Joe was, after all, willing to pay $6 a week to rent half a bedroom. Joe and Connie were thrown together by the war, and they are destined to be separated by it. Essentially, this is just a few days of joy grabbed together as they have them. It seems Dingle is the only one who really internalizes that, but he's also the one old enough to remember World War I. He's probably seen this before, as had quite a lot of the audience. It's still possible to hope for them.
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 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.
½ April 16, 2012
Decent war-time comedy. The scene where the morning plans take shape is worth seeing. Good cast.
April 13, 2012
A really sweet, well-acted movie!
½ April 7, 2012
an instant classic with me. cute and full of humor...I'd recommend it to anyone who lobes the classics.
½ February 28, 2012
Very funny. Excellent chemistry between McCrea and Jean Arthur.
November 29, 2011
The More the Merrier (1943) -- [6.0] -- A pleasant screwball comedy from the versatile George Stevens. Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and Charles Coburn play mismatched roommates during a housing shortage. Scenes where the three narrowly avoid collision while getting ready in the morning will remind you of a 'Three Stooges' skit. Coburn took home a supporting actor Oscar for his evuncular role. His costars were nominated, as were Stevens and the film itself.
July 27, 2011
This actually looks really, really funny!
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