The More the Merrier was filmed from September, 1942 to January, 1943 at Columbia, by George Stevens, who was slated to go into the Army as chief of the combat photographic unit right afterwards. The screenplay was by Robert Russell, Frank Ross (married to Jean Arthur at that time), Richard Flournoy and Lewis R. Foster from a story (about wartime housing shortages in Washington D.C. ) by Russell and Ross. The movie was released in May, 1943.
Bosley Crowther, in the New York Times, wrote, “Maybe the trials of living in the nation’s capital are not as humorous as seen herein. To judge by reports from present inmates, they’re not having anything like the fun of the encounters with gay adventure as are enjoyed by Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea. . .(the writers’) situations are not especially novel but the approach is joyous and their dialogue has the zip and spontaneity of impromptu and unrehearsed wit. And Mr. Stevens has brilliantly directed in the same off-hand, impulsive style. He has one early sequence in this picture which matches that kitchen scene in Woman of the Year”.
Charles Coburn won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his performance as retired millionaire-turned-government-consultant Benjamin Dingle. Jean Arthur was nominated for best actress; Ross and Russell for best original story; Ross, Russell, Flournoy and Foster for best screenplay; Stevens for best director; and the picture for best picture. The film was held over past the first week by theatres more than any other Columbia movie up to that time. I hope you enjoy this wartime romantic comedy, The More the Merrier.