COMEDY GOLD #13: The morning routine from The More The Merrier (1943)

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One of the most endearing rom-coms of all time, the premise of The More the Merrier (dir. George Stevens, 1943) is full of comedic potential: during the war, Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur), Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) and Joe Carter (Joel McCrea) are forced to share an apartment following the housing shortage in Washington DC, with Dingle eventually acting as the matchmaker between Connie and Joe. The film is filled with hilarious situations and one-liners but, if pressed, I’d say the morning routing between Connie and Dingle is possibly the funniest moment: after seeing an ad in the newspaper, Dingle heads to Connie’s apartment and asks her to let him stay with her, despite her initial objections. She eventually says yes, and while the entire movie enjoys the comedic abilities and chemistry between the three leads, it is really Connie and Dingle who set the movie up for comedy glory right from the start. About ten minutes into it, the two of them have drafted an over-complicated morning schedule which, when acted out the following morning, relies on physical comedy so wonderfully, it borders on slapstick. Everything from pratfalls, to miscommunication to hilarious outbursts! George Stevens directs the scene – and the whole film – to perfection, while the two of them provide the laughs with their legendary comic timing. Jean Arthur was Oscar-nominated for her performance – the one and only time – and Charles Coburn actually won for Best Supporting Actor. No wonder!

8 thoughts on “COMEDY GOLD #13: The morning routine from The More The Merrier (1943)

  1. Mike Noonan

    A comic gem. Will have to revisit it,. Love Charles Coburn. Recently saw the lady Eve” again. He was superb.i also enjoyed “ walk don’t run”. Jim Hutton was taken too soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this sequence! Of course, I love the whole movie, but this sequence – which is almost slapstick – is perfect. And I also love Dingle’s catchphrase: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

    Liked by 1 person

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