- by Zoë
The Blanding's are
looking for their dream house. They end up buying a 170 year old house for 5
times more than it is worth. The trouble starts when the house shows its age
and has to be torn down...
- by Jerelyn
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House stars Cary Grant and
Myrna Loy as a New York couple attempting to leave the bustle of Manhattan for their dream
house in the country.
The film begins in the overcrowded apartment occupied by
the Blandings family... parents and two daughters. Wife wants to redecorate, husband doesn't
want to spend thousands on an apartment, so soon they are buying an old house in
The old house they buy, thinking of it as their dream
house, soon shows itself to be a nightmare and has to be torn down. Soon they are busy
planning to build a new house, and this is where the fun really begins!
Things begin to go wrong from the start, when the the old
house is torn down without the former owner's permission and he demands full payment on
The "dream house" building takes on a life of its
own, where everything that could go wrong, or cost more money, does. The whole thing seems
almost out of control.
Things work out in the end and the Blandings end up happy
in their house, but the trials and tribulations they suffer along the way are something to
watch and enjoy!!
Film Review - October 17, 1948
- by "Brog"
- submitted by Barry Martin
"Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" is a mildly
amusing comedy with strength enough in star names to pull through
to satisfactory grosses. Cary Grant's boxoffice value will be an
important aid in boosting initial ticket sales, and names of Myrna
Loy, Melvin Douglas and others are marquee familiars.
Eric Hodgins' novel of the trials
and tribulations of the Blandings, while building their dream
house, read a lot funnier than they filmed. Norman Panama and
Melvin Frank come through with a glossy luster in handling
physical production, but failed to jell the story into solid film
fare in their dual scripting.
Film's opening pulls some standard
sight gags that register strongly, helped by the business injected
through H.C. Potter's direction. Such elemental situations as a
"Fibber McGee closet," the sight of a man trying to
shave while his wife shares the basin, and other such familiar
stunts are always good for a laugh response. Less funny is the
sight of a man trying to make ends meet on $15,000 a year,
especially to the average filmgoer who squeezes by on considerably
less. Script gets completely out of hand when unnecessary jealousy
twist is introduced, neither advancing the story nor adding
Grant is up to his usual performance
standard as Mr. Blandings, getting the best from the material, and
Myrna Loy comes through with another of her screen wife
assignments nicely. Melvyn Douglas, the lawyer friend of the
family, gives it a tongue-in-cheek treatment. Trio's finesse and
Potter's light directorial touch do much to give proceedings a
Reginald Denny, the architect, is
good, as are Ian Wolf, the sharp Yankee realtor; Louise Beavers,
the maid; Harry Shannon, Tito Vuolo, Nestor Paiva and others. The
Blandings' young daughters are played by Sharyn Moffett and Connie
On the technical end, film has some
class contributions. James Wong, Howe's lensing is expert. Art
directors Albert S. D'Agostino and Carroll Clark really dreamed up
a dream house and the set decorations show it off. Leigh Harline's
score, the editing and other factors are good.
- by Kathy Fox
This movie is based on a
book by the same name written by Eric Hodgins. This is Cary Grant's
52nd movie, his third with Myrna Loy; the others being WINGS IN THE DARK in
1935, and THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER in 1947. Cary had just met
Betsy Drake aboard the Queen Mary on his return trip from England,
and she came to join him in California as he did this film. This is a cute
story about the trials and tribulations of building a new home. The
Blandings lived in New York City and in order to get away from the hustle
and bustle, they decided to build a home in Connecticut. It is
Murphy's Law, and everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. Cary and
Myrna were very comfortable with each other and it shows on the screen.
This movie was filmed in sequence, which is hardly ever done in movie
making. This is a great movie for the family and if you are deciding
to build a new home. Cary is at his greatest with his portrayal as a
frustrated advertising man. I believe that Cary had three different
careers: One from 1932 to 1937, when he played mostly cast-off roles
and mediocre roles; then his second career from 1937, starting with THE
AWFUL TRUTH, and ending with DREAM WIFE in 1953, when he decided to quit
films, and then his third career, when Alfred Hitchcock lured him back to
film making in 1955 with TO CATCH A THIEF, co-staring Grace Kelly, until his
last film in 1966, WALK, DON'T RUN. With MR. BLANDINGS, he was in the
middle of his second career, most attractive, and by this time was able to
select his scripts and control much of what he was doing on the screen.
This film is timeless and will no doubt be popular for all time.
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - March 26, 1948
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
If the much-talked-about housing problem
could be as happily resolved for all as it is for those fortunate people who
watch "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" on the Astor's
screen, then one of our major dilemmas in the domestic area would be a
national bon. For the business, as here represented, of a man putting a roof
over his family's head is so harmlessly entertaining and so conducive to a
feeling of good-will that, made the experience of a nation, it could change
the destiny of the world.
But, alas, the spirit of this
picture - and the troubles recounted therein - are as far from the
realm of realities as Connecticut is from Sheepshead Bay. Indeed,
they are also slightly distant from the novel which Eric Hodgins
wrote, which in turn (we are told) was a wild fancy in comparison
with his own experience.
However, as straight entertainment,
this ambling and genial report on a young advertising man's
disasters (and final triumph) in becoming a country squire is as
much casual fun as can be looked for on our sparsely provided
screen. And it is a charming - though mildly arresting -
inspiration to daring folks to build a house. Perhaps it wil be
hard to figure how a father, on $15,000 a year, can support a wife
and two daughters in the manner here demonstrated and still pay
income taxes. Perhaps it will be even harder to see how this same
gentleman swings the sort of building project that accumulates in
this film, along with the problem of commuting every day to an
office in New York.
What of it? That's incidental to
the momentary pleasure of the laughts to be had from the sweetly
anguished spectacle of Cary Grant in this monumental fix. As the
gullible New York cliff-dweller who buys a hunk of Connecticut
real estate and thereby resigns himself to pirates, Mr. Grant is a
humanist's delight. And Myrna Loy is equally disarming as his
charmingly whimsical wife who is just as impractical as he is
about bathrooms and closet space. Sharyn Moffet and Connie
Marshall are joys as their daughters (the healthy beasts!), while
Reginald Denny, Ian Wolfe and Harry Shannon are delicious as
As though there were not sufficient
irritations to wreck a home in the book, Norman Panama and Melvin
Frank, who wrote the screen play and also produced the film, have
tossed in a standard fixture in the person of Melvyn Douglas, an
old hand. As a "family friend" and legal adviser, Mr.
Douglas is called upon to arouse Mr. Grant's jealous feelings, as
well as to needle his pride. But with quick-witted dialogue from
the authors and with Director H.C. Potter's smooth restraints, Mr.
Douglas becomes a smart addition to a delightfully misleading
Film Review - April 5, 1948
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, like the original bestseller
by FORTUNE Editor Eric Hodgins, is a sort of rich man's Egg and I:
a comedy natural for all big city dwellers who have ever tried to
get back to the land the easy way. It all starts off with
the woes of Adman Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) and wife (Myrna Loy)
as they suffer the beginning of an average day in their Manhattan
apartment. Even for a $15,000 income-grouper, the Blandins
apartment seems rather spacious (you could encamp a platoon of
homeless veterans in the parlor alone); but the closet space is
convincingly niggardly, and the bathroom problem is enough to
tempt anyone to the wide open spaces.
These deep-city innocents pay a lot
too much for a piece of unreal estate in Connecticut - a
pleasant-looking, rump-sprung old house which they are wild to
patch up and are promptly advised to tear down. They get a
lot of belated advice from their lawyer friend (Melvyn Douglas),
and they go into a huddle with an architect (Reginald Denny) who
is willing to design practically anything - at a price.
Before their homing instinct comes to roost at last they have been
put through the wringer by practically every type of swindler
involved in, or parasitic upon, the building trades.
Blandings saves his neglected job by the skin of his teeth; and
for a time even his marriage seems to be headed for the
Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn
Douglas have a highly experienced way with this sort of comedy,
and Director H.C. Potter is so much at home with it taht he gets
additional laughs out of the predatory rustics and even out of the
avid gestures of a steam shovel. Blandings may turn out to
be too citified for small-town audiences, and incomprehensible
abroad; but among those millions of Americans who have tried to
feather a country nest with city greenbacks, it ought to hit the
Click here to read
Susanna's review of "Mr.
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
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