More the Merrier1943

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Richard Gaines, Bruce Bennett
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 104 minutes

Portly Charles Coburn makes a cute if unlikely cupid in George Stevens's smart 1943 romantic comedy. Jean Arthur is girl next door and big-city sophisticate rolled up in one bubbly package as Connie Milligan, a single woman in Washington D.C. who sublets a room in her small apartment during the wartime housing crisis. Her new roommate, the deadpan eccentric Mr. Dingle (Coburn, who won an Oscar for his rascally performance), dislikes her stiff, bureaucratic beau and takes it upon himself to find her an appropriate boyfriend, namely the soft-spoken industrial engineer Joe Carter (Joel McCrea), whom Dingle puts up in his half of the apartment. Stevens takes a measured approach to comedy: The first morning with all three in the cramped kitchen turns a painstakingly organized schedule into a chaotic free-for-all that just gets funnier as the anarchy builds. Even more effective is the contrast between the charmingly effusive Arthur and McCrea's sauntering style, which creates not so much sparks as a slow simmer as they continue to spend time together. One of the finest craftsmen of Hollywood's Golden Age, Stevens shapes this lightweight screenplay into one of the most delectable romantic comedies of all time. --Sean Axmaker

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