The More the Merrier (1943)

101 mins | Comedy | 13 May 1943

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Merry-Go-Round . According to a HR news item, that title was changed to The More the Merrier based on the results of a nationwide survey. According to a HR news item, Cleo Manning was to make her screen debut in The More the Merrier , but she does not appear in the picture. This was director George Stevens' last picture for Columbia before he joined the Army as chief of the combat photographic unit. According to a HR news item, the picture won the greatest number of hold-overs for a Columbia picture in the first week of release. Actress Jean Arthur and writer Frank Ross were married at the time that the film was made. Charles Coburn won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the picture. Also nominated were Arthur for Best Actress; Frank Ross and Robert Russell for Best Original Story; Ross, Russell, Richard Flournoy and Lewis R. Foster for Best Screenplay; and Stevens for Best Director. The film was also nominated for Best Picture. Arthur and Coburn had previously starred together in the 1941 RKO production The Devil and Miss Jones (see above). According to modern sources, Garson Kanin also worked on the film's story. In 1966, Russell and Ross's story was remade by Columbia as Walk Don't Run , starring Cary Grant, Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton and directed by Charles Walters (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; ... More Less

The working title of this film was Merry-Go-Round . According to a HR news item, that title was changed to The More the Merrier based on the results of a nationwide survey. According to a HR news item, Cleo Manning was to make her screen debut in The More the Merrier , but she does not appear in the picture. This was director George Stevens' last picture for Columbia before he joined the Army as chief of the combat photographic unit. According to a HR news item, the picture won the greatest number of hold-overs for a Columbia picture in the first week of release. Actress Jean Arthur and writer Frank Ross were married at the time that the film was made. Charles Coburn won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the picture. Also nominated were Arthur for Best Actress; Frank Ross and Robert Russell for Best Original Story; Ross, Russell, Richard Flournoy and Lewis R. Foster for Best Screenplay; and Stevens for Best Director. The film was also nominated for Best Picture. Arthur and Coburn had previously starred together in the 1941 RKO production The Devil and Miss Jones (see above). According to modern sources, Garson Kanin also worked on the film's story. In 1966, Russell and Ross's story was remade by Columbia as Walk Don't Run , starring Cary Grant, Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton and directed by Charles Walters (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.5408). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Apr 1943.
---
Daily Variety
1 Apr 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Apr 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jan 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 43
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Apr 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Apr 43
p. 1249.
New York Times
14 May 43
p. 17
New York Times
16 May 43
p. 3.
Variety
7 Apr 43
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Peggy Carroll
Frank La Rue
Harry Bradley
Robert F. Hill
Sally Cairnes
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Torpedo Song," words by Henry Myers and Edward Eliscu, music by Jay Gorney.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Merry-Go-Round
Release Date:
13 May 1943
Production Date:
11 September--19 December 1942
inserts filmed late January 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
15 April 1943
Copyright Number:
LP11979
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
101
Length(in feet):
9,370
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8921
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Retired millionaire Benjamin Dingle comes to Washington and is greeted by a flurry of no vacancy signs, the result of a severe war-time housing shortage in the capital. Upon discovering that he must wait two days to occupy his hotel suite, Dingle scours the classified ads for room rentals. Arriving at a building to find a line of eager applicants waiting to rent the half-apartment described in the paper, the enterprising Dingle pretends to be the lease holder and dismisses the other candidates. When Connie Milligan, the real lease holder, arrives, she expresses reluctance to rent to a male roommate, but Dingle convinces her to grant him a week trial period. After Connie scurries to work the next morning, Dingle meets Sgt. Joe Carter, who has come to inquire about renting the room while he awaits his military assignment. Dingle offers to rent Joe half of his room, and when Connie returns home from work that evening, Dingle tries to conceal Joe's presence from her. Joe's barking in the shower attracts Connie's attention, however, and upon discovering her new tenant in the hallway, she becomes furious and orders both Dingle and Joe to leave. When they demand that she refund their rent, however, Connie allows them to stay because she has spent the money on a new hat. At breakfast the next morning, Joe finds himself attracted to his new landlady. After Connie reveals that she has been engaged for two years to bureaucrat Charles J. Pendergast, Dingle questions the delay and advises her to "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Dingle, who has come to Washington as an advisor on the housing shortage, coincidentally meets the ... +


Retired millionaire Benjamin Dingle comes to Washington and is greeted by a flurry of no vacancy signs, the result of a severe war-time housing shortage in the capital. Upon discovering that he must wait two days to occupy his hotel suite, Dingle scours the classified ads for room rentals. Arriving at a building to find a line of eager applicants waiting to rent the half-apartment described in the paper, the enterprising Dingle pretends to be the lease holder and dismisses the other candidates. When Connie Milligan, the real lease holder, arrives, she expresses reluctance to rent to a male roommate, but Dingle convinces her to grant him a week trial period. After Connie scurries to work the next morning, Dingle meets Sgt. Joe Carter, who has come to inquire about renting the room while he awaits his military assignment. Dingle offers to rent Joe half of his room, and when Connie returns home from work that evening, Dingle tries to conceal Joe's presence from her. Joe's barking in the shower attracts Connie's attention, however, and upon discovering her new tenant in the hallway, she becomes furious and orders both Dingle and Joe to leave. When they demand that she refund their rent, however, Connie allows them to stay because she has spent the money on a new hat. At breakfast the next morning, Joe finds himself attracted to his new landlady. After Connie reveals that she has been engaged for two years to bureaucrat Charles J. Pendergast, Dingle questions the delay and advises her to "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Dingle, who has come to Washington as an advisor on the housing shortage, coincidentally meets the prosaic Pendergast the next day at a luncheon meeting and decides that Joe would be a better match for Connie. One day, Dingle discovers Connie's diary and begins to read aloud the pages that flatter Joe. When Connie discovers Dingle reading her diary, she denounces him and orders both Dingle and Joe to move out the next day. The following day, Connie returns home from work, and Joe gives her a farewell note from Dingle, absolving him of all blame in the diary incident, and then presents her with a traveling bag as an apology. Connie, who has become attracted to Joe, accepts the gift and agrees to let him stay until he leaves for his mission in Africa in two days. When Joe invites Connie to dinner that night, she demurs, saying that she must wait until eight o'clock for Pendergast's call. After the hour passes without a call from Pendergast, Joe and Connie prepare to leave when Connie's neighbor, teenager Morton Rodakiewicz, comes to ask her opinion about joining the Boy Scouts. Morton notices that Joe has taken the phone off the hook, and as soon as he returns the receiver to its cradle, Pendergast calls. As Connie leaves to join Pendergast in the lobby, Joe watches them through binoculars and Morton accuses him of being a spy. After driving Morton away by claiming to be a Japanese agent, Joe goes to meet Dingle for dinner. They arrive at the same restaurant where Pendergast and Connie are dining. When Dingle stops at their table with Joe, Pendergast, who is unaware of Connie's housing situation, invites the two to join them. Determined to unite Joe and Connie, Dingle suggests they dance while he and Pendergast discuss the housing shortage in his suite. On the dance floor, Joe is about to kiss Connie when they are interrupted by a group of Connie's man-hungry women friends. After Pendergast calls Connie to ask Joe to take her home, Connie extracts Joe from the clutches of his admirers, and they walk home together. On the steps outside their apartment building, Joe starts to caress Connie. Flustered, she begins to extoll Pendergast's virtues, and they kiss. Saying goodnight, they retire to their separate bedrooms. Through the wall separating their beds, Connie confides her doubts about marrying Pendergast, and Joe admits that he loves her and proposes. As they murmur endearments to each other, Evans and Pike, two FBI agents, burst into the apartment, having been alerted by Morton that Joe is a Japanese spy. The agents take Joe and Connie to headquarters and also summon Dingle, their ex-roommate, there. Dingle arrives with Pendergast in tow, and when Pendergast learns that Joe shares Connie's address, he is scandalized. After Joe is released when his commanding officer vouches for him, he, Dingle, Connie and Pendergast pile into a cab. Unknown to them, the other passenger in the taxi is a reporter. After accusing Pendergast of being interested only in his career, Connie angrily returns his ring. When the reporter leaves the cab at the headquarters of the Washington Post , Pendergast, terrified of a scandal, follows him. Dingle then advises Joe and Connie to marry quickly and file for an annulment to avoid a scandal. With only twenty-six hours remaining before Joe is to leave for Africa, the couple fly to South Carolina to wed. Upon returning home, the sobbing bride and her groom go to their separate bedrooms. As Joe and Connie nervously pace, they realize that Dingle has had the wall between their rooms removed, and they kiss. Dingle, who has been sleeping in the lobby with a group of roomless men, then steals up to their apartment door and changes the nameplate to read Mr. and Mrs. Sgt. Carter. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.