The More the Merrier vs. The Talk of the Town



Actress Jean Arthur, director George Stevens, and a (relatively) small space which three people must co-inhabit. It was a great formula and works well for both of these pictures, which are otherwise quite different. Both tackle social issues but The Talk of the Town is manifestly the more serious of the two, and features an interesting, decidedly intellectual love triangle. Despite this, it also has the funniest scene in both movies: "This is not your egg morning!" The More the Merrier is sweeter and more sentimental, and probably more consistent in tone. Though the scenes between Joel McCrea and Jean Arthur are steamier than anything in The Talk of the Town, I pick the earlier film, just because it's so unusual to see a love triangle done well. Together these two pictures present the best attempt by any director to follow on the successes of Frank Capra, the creator of the socially-minded screwball.

Having seen The More the Merrier twice now, I'm switching my vote. It's just so darn lovable, and the McCrea/Arthur scenes are flat-out sexy. But I love both of these movies.