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The More the Merrier (1943)

Jean Arthur , Joel McCrea , George Stevens  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

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The More the Merrier + The Devil and Miss Jones + Easy Living (Universal Cinema Classics)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Richard Gaines, Bruce Bennett
  • Directors: George Stevens
  • Writers: Frank Ross, Garson Kanin, Lewis R. Foster, Richard Flournoy, Robert Russell
  • Producers: George Stevens, Fred Guiol
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002XNT08
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,654 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The More the Merrier" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn star in this delightful comedy set during World War II about a single working-girl who, because of a significant housing shortage, sublets half her Washington D.C. apartment to two men for some very merry and very romantic results. For director George Stevens, THE MORE THE MERRIER would be the final film in his three picture deal with Columbia (the others were Penny Serenade and The Talk Of the Town), as well as his last project before entering the service in the Army Signal Corps film unit. THE MORE THE MERRIER featured terrific performances from its three stars and especially from Charles Coburn, who earned himself a 1943 Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor. Jean Arthur, who Stevens called "one of the greatest comediennes the screen has ever seen," garnered an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. The film, written specifically for Arthur, also received nominations for Best Motion Picture Story, Best Screenplay, Best Picture and Be

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
111 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncommonly funny, sweet, and sexy August 23, 2005
Since I uncovered this tragically overlooked gem in Hollywood's crown, thanks to NY Times and their list of 1000 best films ever made, I've watched it four times and it just gets better with repeated viewing. That alone is a tremendous recommendation for anyone who likes a good romantic comedy, especially if you've found yourself let down by the more mindless entries into the genre (the recent "Must Love Dogs," for example).

Some fine synopses of "The More the Merrier" can be found elsewhere on this page, so I'll not be repetitive. Let me just say how wonderful it is to find a film that perfectly captures that magical moment in time when two people have the locomotives of their lives derailed by finding each other completely by accident. Well, OK, not completely; Mr. Dingle is the engineer of this particular train wreck, the sheer joy of which is not fully clear to anyone until the final five minutes of the film, an ending that is so beautifully planned, constructed, and executed that it gives me goose bumps.

The other marvelously pleasurable aspects of this film include the realistic way the dialogue unfolds. Most films have had the life rehearsed out of them; "OK, I say this, then pause for a beat so the audience can laugh, then you say this while I wait to respond to what you've said." In TMtM, on the other hand, characters sometimes mumble, dialogue overlaps, there are scenes when two characters seem to be ad libbing at the same time, etc., just like the viewer is a fly on the wall rather than watching a polished Hollywood product. Ah, 'tis a rare and precious thing, this.

And finally, TMtM reminds us how sad it is that today's films usually substitute nudity for sexiness.
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Damn the Torpedoes!...Full speed ahead" January 24, 2005
The line that serves as title for my review is spoken by the great Charles Coburn all through the movie, and at the end of the film it is used as a "subtle" innuendo of what's going'll know what I'm talking about when you see this great film.

I am a fan of pre-codes, in other words, films that were released before the Production Code was fully enforced (1930-1934), but this does not mean I do not love too, films produced during its full enforcement, because it never ceases to amaze me how certain masters of the American Cinema (Hitchcock, Preston Sturges, Lubitsch, etc.) found ways of subtly insinuating what could not be fully showed or directly told onscren.

This film takes place during the severe house (and men) shortage in World War II Washington D.C. and tells us the story of how the funny cupid-mister-fix-it character played by Coburn (Mr. Dingle) gets "clean-cut" Joel McCrea (Joe Carter) into Jean Arthur's (Miss Milligan) small Apartment. Previously, he has managed to get inside of it himself.

I had seen McCrea and Arthur together in the screen for the first time in the Early Talkie "The Silver Horde" (1930), a nice and entertaing adventure yarn (she plays his spoiled rich fiancée), but neither Arthur had yet blossomed into the excellent actress and deft comediene she was yet to become in the mid 1930's, nor had the great chemistry between both stars developed the way it did in this gem of a movie.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very cute, intelligent and original movie.... July 16, 2005
"The More the Merrier" is a film that I wish I had heard of before. This is one of many great films directed and produced by the legendary George Stevens. Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur) is a young woman with patriotism in mind, who decides to rent out half of her apartment to someone, due to the housing shortage in wartime Washington DC. Connie had a female roommate in mind, but, that isn't what she gets. Mr. Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) shows up at her front door--an elderly, retired millionaire, whose itinerary is two days ahead of schedule, and is seeking lodging, since his suite at the hotel is still booked up. Connie's grudgingly forced attempts to compromise with the gentleman, without starting a scandal, is just the beginning of the screwball humor in the film......

Mr. Dingle decides that Connie needs a clean-cut nice young man...not the uptight, too old fiancee she is currently seeing. Joe Carter (Joel McCrea) literally shows up on the frontstep, and the opportunity presents itself for Mr. Dingle to engage in matchmaking, as he rents out his half of the apartment to the young man.

I enjoy the broad humor of this film, that isn't at all dated in my perception. Also , the leads are likeable and believeable in their roles. The direction of the humorous scenes was brilliantly subtle, and is so much more engaging than the over-the-top, cartoonish comedies of today. It's like watching a beautifully choreographed dance......

Enjoy it......
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Was I ever wrong. For years I looked upon Charles Coburn as a fat, porcine old gentlemen who always had a big, wet-chewed cigar in his mouth. I was so awed by the cheesy melodrama of Kings Row that I barely noticed his startling performance as Dr. Gordon, the cruel, vindictive surgeon who made Drake McHugh cry out, "Where's the rest of me?" Then I saw The Lady Eve, and then The Devil and Miss Jones. And now, The More the Merrier. Not only could Coburn define surgery at its worst, I finally realized that he was one of the most subtle and skilled practitioners of high-class comedy. Coburn won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his work in The More the Merrier. He could just as justifiably won it for Eve and Miss Jones. As good a movie as The More the Merrier is, and as good as Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea are, Charles Coburn as Benjamin Dingle, "a well-to-do retired millionaire," who turns out to be an uncommonly sly cupid, refocuses the movie every time he's on screen.

We're in the middle of WWII in Washington and housing is almost impossible to come by. Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur) places an ad for a roommate to share her two-bedroom flat. Benjamin Dingle (Coburn) is in town on business and without a hotel room. He spots the ad, bulls his way past a hoard of eager applicants and simply fast talks his way in. He notices that this attractive young woman seems to have a lonely life. In fact, she's engaged to a Washington bureaucrat as romantic as an officious waiter. It's not long before Dingle spots Joe Carter (Joel McCrea) looking for a room. Joe is tall and good-looking. Within minutes Dingle has subleased half of his subleased room to Joe. It won't be long before the three of them are falling over each other. But will Connie and Joe fall for each other?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 day ago by Susan Rigby
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Jean Arthur
I love this movie because I love Jean Arthur.
Published 15 days ago by GanGan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 19 days ago by Virgil Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific team!
One of Jean's and Joel's best.
Published 20 days ago by Charles M. Cottle
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great, entertaining movie. A must have for your collection
Published 1 month ago by Carmen Davila
5.0 out of 5 stars The More The Merrier is the perfect title for this Classic Comedy
This is one of my favorite Jean Arthur movies. Comedy, Romance and a wonderful "love scene" between Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea when he kisses her for the first time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Catharine Wahn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
Fun time to share with the family. Everyone likes it
Published 1 month ago by Frannieanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute story
Simply adorable. :) Jean Arthur is charming, and Charles Coburn is a mischievous, darling matchmaker. :) Set in the housing shortage of Washington DC during WWII. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bookmaiden
3.0 out of 5 stars Not that good.
Don't waste your money on this one, it's really not worth it when there are so many better ones out there.
Published 3 months ago by Gail Janusz
2.0 out of 5 stars This Movie is Terrible
Just because it's old doesn't mean it's good. I love old movies - and I love old actors - but this movie is NOT funny and it's laborious - you're just waiting for the punch line. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Laura Kiri
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