The More the Merrier is a 1943 American comedy film made by Columbia Pictures which makes fun of the housing shortage during World War II, especially in Washington, D.C.. It stars Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Stanley Clements and Richard Gaines. The movie was directed by George Stevens and written by Richard Flournoy, Lewis R. Foster, Garson Kanin (uncredited), Frank Ross (who was Jean Arthur's husband at the time), and Robert Russell.
Coburn won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, while Arthur was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Other nominations included Best Director, Best Picture, Best Writing, Original Story and Best Writing, Screenplay.
This film was remade in 1966 as Walk, Don't Run, with Cary Grant, Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton.
During World War II, retired millionaire Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) arrives in Washington, D.C. as an adviser on the housing shortage and finds that his hotel suite will not be available for two days. He sees an ad for a roommate and talks the reluctant young woman, Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur), into letting him sublet half of her apartment. Then he runs into Sergeant Joe Carter (Joel McCrea), who has no place to stay while he waits to be shipped overseas. Dingle generously rents him half of his half.
When Connie finds out about the new arrangement, she orders them both to leave, but is forced to relent because she has already spent their rent money. Joe and Connie are attracted to each other, though she is engaged to bureaucrat Charles J. Pendergast (Richard Gaines). Connie's mother married for love, not security, and Connie is determined not to repeat her mistake. Dingle meets Pendergast at a luncheon and does not like what he sees. He decides that Joe would be a better match for his landlady.
One day, Dingle goes too far, reading aloud to Joe from Connie's private diary. When she finds out, she demands they both leave the next day. Dingle accepts full blame for the incident, and Connie allows Joe to stay the few more days before he is to ship out to the fighting.
Due to a nosy teenage neighbor, Joe is taken in for questioning as a suspected spy for the Japanese, and Connie is brought along as well. When Dingle and Pendergast show up to vouch for them, it comes out that Joe and Connie are living in the same apartment. They are eventually released, but the story reaches a reporter. Dingle advises the young couple to get married to avoid a scandal and then have it annulled later. They follow his advice and wed. However (as Dingle had foreseen), Connie's attraction to Joe overcomes her prudence.
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