He smartens up the debonair Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche), ensuring he doesn’t lose his lovely wife, Martha (Gene Tierney) in Heaven Can Wait (1943).
He pushes his widowed daughter-in-law (Irene Dunne) into frivolity and a new chance at love with sculptor George Corday (Charles Boyer) in Together Again (1944).
And in The More the Merrier (1943) he unites conservative Connie (Jean Arthur) and Joe (Joel McCrea), with machinations so wonderful and so amusing that they almost distract from his costars’ considerable chemistry.
There was a moment when I was watching him bustle around, trying to follow Connie’s morning schedule, that I realized I truly loved this man, was terribly envious of everyone encountering him. Connie may ultimately fall for Joe, but I think we all can see that those arrows have hit more than one target.
I defy anyone to spend time with someone this wise, this funny, this blunt–every time, in every film–and be able to resist him. No wonder he matches up so many couples, so many times. They fall for him first, and then even those most resistant to love begin to listen….