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The More the Merrier ()

directed by
featuring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Richard Gaines, Bruce Bennett, Ann Doran, Ann Savage

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. Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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