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The More the Merrier

(1943 b 104')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A Washington woman rents half her apartment to two men and falls in love with one of them.

Washington is crowded, and Ben Dingle (Charles Coburn) insists on renting half an apartment from Constance Milligan (Jean Arthur). She explains the morning schedule in detail, and they try to cooperate before she leaves at 7:32. Dingle rents half of his half of the apartment to Joe Carter (Joel McCrea), an airplane mechanic from Burbank. Constance comes home and tells Dingle he must leave. She and Joe see each other in the hall. Dingle explains, and she reluctantly agrees for one week. At breakfast Constance says she is engaged to Charles Pendergast. At a committee meeting Dingle makes a proposal and meets Pendergast (Richard Gaines). Sunday on the roof Dingle finds Constance's diary and reads it to Joe until she returns. She gets upset and tells both to move out.

Constance comes home and finds Joe packing. He shows her a letter from Dingle exonerating him. Joe gives her a traveling bag. He says he is going to Africa in two days, and she says he can stay till then. Joe asks her out, but she has a date at eight. They wait to see if Pendergast will call. Young Rodakiewicz (Stanley Clements) puts the phone back on the hook and sees Joe using forbidden binoculars. Pendergast calls, and Constance goes out. Pendergast says he wants to marry her soon. Joe and Dingle see them, and Dingle talks to Pendergast so that Joe can dance with Constance. Joe is surrounded by women, and Constance gets a call that Pendergast is not coming back. Joe takes her home. As she talks about marrying Pendergast, he caresses her. She kisses him back. They go to bed and talk through the wall. Joe says he loves her, and she says she loves him. They are talking about marrying when two FBI man come in and take them in for questioning. Dingle is called and arrives with Pendergast, who learns that Joe is living with Constance. Dingle denies he lived there. A taxi needs a full load, and they all get in. Constance gets angry at Pendergast. A reporter gets the story, and Pendergast chases him. Dingle suggests that Joe marry Constance and schedules a flight to South Carolina. At lunch Constance cries. At home Joe gives her the license and says she can get it annulled. They kiss goodnight. In separate rooms she cries, and he talks; but in the final scene Dingle writes Mr. and Mrs. on the door.

This romantic comedy reflects the peculiar war-time conditions in Washington where women outnumbered the eligible men eight to one.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

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