Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Houseboat (1958)

Director: Melville Shavelson

Writers: Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose, Betsy Drake

Composer: George Duning

Starring: Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Martha Hyer, Harry Guardino, Eduardo Ciannelli, Murray Hamilton, Mimi Gibson, Paul Petersen, Charles Herbert, Madge Kennedy, John Litel, Werner Klemperer

More info: IMDb

Plot: Tom Winston, a widower, is trying to understand and raise three precocious children alone. He gets a little unexpected help from Cinzia, when the children decide she is be the new maid. She is actually an Italian socialite who is trying to get away from her overprotective father.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Here's how good of an actor Cary Grant was.  He's married and having an affair with Sophia Loren.  His wife wrote the screenplay which was later re-written by others and Grant wanted her to star in it originally until Loren came along.  He's madly in love with Loren.  Carlo Ponti gets a quick divorce and marries Loren.  Grant now wants out of the picture but he can't and goes through with the commitment.  You'd never know by his performance that he's got this crap going on behind the scenes.  It's a cute romantic comedy that hits the right beats with a few laughs here and there.  It's not a knee-slapper by any stretch but there are some great lines and some of them come from the always fun Murray Hamilton.  It's neat seeing Harry Guardino pre-DIRTY HARRY days.  He delivers the goods.  And damn if that Cary Grant ain't one cool cat.  He makes it look so easy and Sophia Loren does a fine job, too, and she's far too easy on the eyes.  The film does feel a little long and that last half hour drags but that's probably because of the 'we've got to have some conflict and drama before getting these two kids together for keeps' business.  The Paramount DVD has a nice widescreen print with the only extras being two trailers for the film and a photo gallery with about 30 B&W publicity photos.  It's nice that it's not just stills from the film.  I hate that crap.  At least they tried.

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