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Friday, May 27, 2016

The More The Merrier (1943)

Set in Washington D.C. during WWII, a young woman (Jean Arthur) reluctantly rents a room in her apartment to an elderly businessman (Charles Coburn in his Oscar winning performance) as part of her patriotic duty in alleviating the city's massive housing shortage. But when he rents part of his room to a younger man (Joel McCrea), problems ensue. Directed by George Stevens, it's no great shakes as cinema but it's awfully charming until it loses its way in the last fifteen minutes. I imagine the idea of an unmarried woman living under the same room with two men might have been rather titillating in the 1940s but it all seems rather innocent today. The film is lucky to have three expert farceurs in the leads and there's nary a misstep between them. As always, McCrea's underplaying stands out among the more frenetic performances of Arthur and to a lesser extent Coburn. Remade in 1966 as WALK DON' RUN. With Bruce Bennett, Richard Gaines and Ann Doran.

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