Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1943: Charles Coburn in The More the Merrier

Charles Coburn won his Oscar from his second nomination for portraying Benjamin Dingle in The More the Merrier.

The More the Merrier involves the misadventures of three people who find themselves in the same apartment due to a housing shortage in Washington D.C.

Charles Coburn really is not all that much of a supporting performance for about a half to a third of the film where he basically is the lead being the primary force in moving the story along. I do not mind this placement though because he almost disappears in the later part of the film, which is too bad for the film though because if he had remained the lead the film would have probably been better on a whole, since for me the film lost almost all of its steam when Coburn was not on the screen because he makes the movie.

Coburn plays Benjamin Dingle a rich eccentric billionaire who arrives two days early than expected forcing him to find housing by sharing an apartment with a woman Constance (Jean Arthur). Coburn with ease brigns out all the humor with the situation as he shows that Dingle is always in control of his situation. Not in some sort of dictator fashion, but just a man who always knows what to do, and takes the initiative as Dingle says "Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead.".

Coburn is just great in every scene he has with always pitch perfect comedic reactions to the the various complexities that occur thanks to the unusual room arrangement that Dingle makes even more unusual by renting half of his half to a younger soldier also in town named Joe (Joel McCrea). Every moment Coburn makes the most of with his exceedingly charming and entertaining performance. He always takes every line, every reaction and practically brings each to its fullest potential.

 There is not a scene, even the with the later ones where Dingle is unfortunately pushed in the back where Coburn does not make Dingle the man in charge who can't help but be a joyous presence. I only wish Coburn had been the lead because his part is so enjoyable. This is a performance I simply love and he always makes the film a very easy watch. A eccentric comedic character like this is easy to get very wrong but Coburn always brings the humor and the charm of his character into each and every moment he has in the film.


Fritz said...

I agree, a terrific performance.

dinasztie said...

I so loved him the first time but for the second time I was not that in awe of him. He's still great.

RatedRStar said...

I have this niggling feeling that Claude Rains will lose lol =D