Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) Poster

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Delightful comedy
Cajun-43 January 1999
I saw this movie when it was first released in 1948. Now 50 years later I watch it again. The comedy holds up remarkably well. Say what you like about the Hollywood studios of the forties but they could turn out these pleasant entertainments seemingly without effort. The perils of buying and building a house have not changed (although the prices certainly have!)It's a delight to watch three seasoned professionals (Grant,Loy and Douglas)play against each other so well. All the minor characters are well cast. The touches of sentiment are never over done. A movie well worth seeing more than once.
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Cary Grant at his best
didi-519 October 2003
This film is a fantastic showcase for Grant's bewildered man of America, and he always did that so well. The Blandings, a 'typical New York family, on about 15,000 a year', decide to leave their four room apartment in the city and buy a 'dream house' in rural Connecticut.

Of course, this being a comedy, you know it won't go smoothly (you get a good clue as well from Melvyn Douglas' laconic narration here and there, as the Blandings' long-suffering lawyer, and Mrs B's high school sweetheart). First the picturesque little home is a wreck, then they start to plan a substitute (the scene where Mr and Mrs B plan what rooms their new house will have is classic), then everything that can go wrong goes wrong ... on top of this, Grant's harrassed advertising executive has to find a slogan for the bete noire of his company, Wham! ham.

My particular favourite scenes involve Myrna Loy, perfect as Mrs B, instructing which colours of paint each room will have; and a little room at the top of the house which regularly traps Grant inside. A highly recommended RKO goodie, this film. Hugely enjoyable.
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You really couldn't go wrong with Grant and Loy...
gaityr14 July 2002
The film opens with Bill Coles (Melvyn Douglas) telling a story about how his best friend--make that client--Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) and his family are tightly packed into a small New York apartment, with not enough closet space and way too few bathrooms. When Jim's wife, Muriel (Myrna Loy), wants to renovate the apartment, advertising exec Jim falls in love with (or falls for!) an ad for a house. Once he's purchased the house, bills and frustration pile up incessantly as everything that can go wrong with the building of Jim's 'dream house' goes wrong.

One of three collaborations between Grant and Loy, this is a charming little comedy--not very taxing, with no real great message, but a great way to spend an hour or two. The laughs are there right from the start, when the alarm clock goes off and Jim tries to shut it off, only to be thwarted at every turn by Muriel. The timing and delivery of the comedic lines and situations can only be given by a couple of seasoned pros, and that's just what Grant and Loy give us: polished performances, simple chemistry, and a lot of fun. Myrna Loy is in a pretty thankless role (it's evident that Grant's character Jim gets the lion share of the lines and the acting, and Grant, as always, pulls both off with remarkable aplomb), but she gives Muriel a colour, life and bite that only Myrna Loy can give a character. Melvyn Douglas plays wry amusement to perfection as well, never hitting a single wrong note.

One of my favourite scenes has definitely got to be when Bill gets himself locked in the 'store room', and Jim goes to 'save' him... only to get everyone trapped inside! Every little problem that pops up for the Blandings renovation project--including petty jealousy and an ad campaign for 'Wham'--seems to bring together everything that *could* go wrong with building a new house but makes it believable and an enjoyable watch. 8/10
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A comic classic.
BookWorm-210 June 2004
Anyone who has ever embarked on a construction project, from a tree-house to a skyscraper, will identify with the beleaguered Mr. Blandings. His simple vision of an idyllic life in the suburbs encounters the harsh reality of recalcitrant geology, feuding contractors, exploding costs, and other complications -- all to hilarious effect.

The script has a perfect ear, the director's timing is impeccable, and the sophisticated style of the stars gives the entire production a polished sheen. Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas are all brilliant, but this is much more than a star vehicle. It's one of the best sophisticated comedies Hollywood ever committed to celluloid. And even 60 years later, the story is all too true.
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A house in Connecticut
jotix10019 April 2006
Manhattan apartment dwellers have to put up with all kinds of inconveniences. The worst one is the lack of closet space! Some people who eat out all the time use their ranges and dishwashers as storage places because the closets are already full!

Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, a great comedy writing team from that era, saw the potential in Eric Hodgins novel, whose hero, Jim Blandings, can't stand the cramped apartment where he and his wife Muriel, and two daughters, must share.

Jim Blandings, a Madison Ave. executive, has had it! When he sees an ad for Connecticut living, he decides to take a look. Obviously, a first time owner, Jim is duped by the real estate man into buying the dilapidated house he is taken to inspect by an unscrupulous agent. This is only the beginning of his problems.

Whatever could be wrong, goes wrong. The architect is asked to come out with a plan that doesn't work for the new house, after the original one is razed. As one problem leads to another, more money is necessary, and whatever was going to be the original cost, ends up in an inflated price that Jim could not really afford.

The film is fun because of the three principals in it. Cary Grant was an actor who clearly understood the character he was playing and makes the most out of Jim Blandings. Myrna Loy, was a delightful actress who was always effective playing opposite Mr. Grant. The third character, Bill Cole, an old boyfriend of Myrna, turned lawyer for the Blandings, is suave and debonair, the way Melvin Douglas portrayed him. One of the Blandings girls, Joan, is played by Sharyn Moffett, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Eva Marie Saint. The great Louise Beavers plays Gussie, but doesn't have much to do.

The film is lovingly photographed by James Wong Howe, who clearly knew what to do to make this film appear much better. The direction of H.C. Potter is light and he succeeded in this film that will delight fans of classic comedies.
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Pretty Good Comedy, & Not Without Some Commentary
Snow Leopard24 February 2005
This is a pretty good comedy, with several good screwball-type sequences, and yet its silliness also contains some commentary, sometimes pointed, and much of it still pertinent. Cary Grant and Myrna Loy are well-suited to this kind of material, and the script provides good dialogue and some amusing situations for them and the rest of the cast to work with.

This is certainly of particular interest to anyone who has ever faced either the kind of home-buying experience that the Blandings family goes through, or one of the many other similar experiences that life offers. The whole picture of having to deal with a bewildering assortment of contractors, workmen, lawyers, and who knows what else, is a very familiar feature of modern life, even for those who do not buy their own homes. The movie helps to point out some of the basic absurdities all of this, while providing some good humor.

The two sub-plots - the one with Melvyn Douglas and the other with Grant looking for the new slogan - are worked in rather resourcefully, so as to parallel some of the basic themes of the main story about the house, while also providing comic complications in the main plot.

Grant has the knack of making the wildest situations seem believable at the time, and even somewhat sophisticated. Loy's charm and elegance make her a very good complement to Grant's character. It's a good combination overall.
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Building the American Dream
claudio_carvalho1 May 2008
In Manhattan, the American middle class Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) lives with his wife Muriel (Myrna Loy) and two teenage daughters in a four bedroom and one bathroom only leased apartment. Jim works in an advertising agency raising US$ 15,000.00 a year and feels uncomfortable in his apartment due to the lack of space. When he sees an advertisement of a huge house for sale in the country of Connecticut for an affordable price, he drives with his wife and the real estate agent and decides to buy the old house without any technical advice. His best friend and lawyer Bill Cole (Melvyn Douglas) sends an acquaintance engineer to inspect the house, and the man tells that he should put down the house and build another one. Jim checks the information with other engineers and all of them condemn the place and sooner he finds that he bought a "money pit" instead of a dream house.

"Mr. Blandings Builds his Own House" is an extremely funny comedy, with witty lines and top-notch screenplay. Cary Grant is hilarious in the role of a man moved by the impulse of accomplishing with the American Dream of owning a huge house that finds that made bad choice, while losing his touch in his work and feeling jealous of his friend. In 1986, Tom Hanks worked in a very funny movie visibly inspired in this delightful classic, "The Money Pit". My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Lar, Meu Tormento" ("Home, My Torment")
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Cary Grant's Money Pit
caspian19789 January 2005
Post World War 2 America. Dwight is about to take office. The typical American middle class family living together in downtown city USA. Their home is an apartment, boxed in like cattle. The opening of the movie is without sound. That is, no one needs to talk. Cary Grant is introduced with physical comedy. The everyday ordeal of having to clean up, shower, shave, is a living hell. Before a single word is spoken, you begin to feel for Cary Grant and you know exactly how he feels. By the second scene, he is ready to move up and out of the big city for rural country USA. One problem after another, The Blandings are faced with the choices they have made. Their dream house falls apart and needs to be built up one brick at a time. Their bank account, marriage, family, their entire life is on the line as they attempt to live out their dream of owning the perfect house. Much like the money pit, it is a coming of age for the middle age. A great comedy.
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"If you ain't eating WHAM, you ain't eating ham!"
TxMike7 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
One of the nice side benefits of watching an older movie is to recall how things were. Mr Blandings (Cary Grant) was a successful advertising man in NYC and making $15,000 a year. Which was a very nice salary in 1948, the year I turned 3. Today that would be closer to a good monthly salary. Anyway, he, his wife, and two daughters live in a modest home in the City, but there never seems to be enough room for storage, or for everyone to get bathroom time each morning. So he latches upon this bright idea to buy a cheap fixer-upper in rural Connecticut, just a short train ride to Manhattan. Cary Grant is at his best here, as is Myrna Loy as his faithful wife. In black and white, this would have been a gorgeous movie in color. Still, a very good movie, even by current standards.

SPOILERS are contained in the following, tread cautiously. So he buys the property and has the house inspected (aren't you supposed to do that first??)several times, and each tells him the same thing, "Tear it down." No structural integrity. So he does and hires a builder to make him a $10,000 house. Problem is, as he and his wife keep demanding changes to the plans, more room here, a bathroom for each person, then the cost escalates. Not to mention the well that must be dug, the demineralizer needed, all of which brings the final structure to much more than they intended. Plus, when they had to vacate their home, the new one wasn't quite ready yet, they moved in without some windows, and the painter was varnishing the living room floor. Still, eventually everything works out, but Blandings is in danger of losing his job if he can't meet the deadline for a slogan for their big customer, WHAM hams. The day of his deadline, when Blandings complained about more ham for breakfast, their black maid says, "If you ain't eating WHAM, you ain't eating ham!" Presto! he found his slogan, and true to the times her reward was "give her a $10 raise."
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The Pitfalls of Building Your Dream House
theowinthrop9 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Although recognized as the best film treatment of the difficulties of having a house in the country built (or bought) to your specifications, it is not the first, nor the last. In 1940 Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan were the leads in the film version of the comedy GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. And about fifteen years ago Shelly Long and Tom Hanks had the lead in THE MONEY PIT. The former was about moving into an 18th Century country house that...err, needs work. The latter was about building your dream house - in the late 1980s. Although the two films have their moments, both are not as good as BLANDINGS, which was based on an autobiographical novel of the same name.

Jim Blandings and his wife Muriel (Cary Grant and Myrna Loy) are noticing the tight corners of their apartment, which they share with their two daughters Joan and Betsy (Sharyn Moffett and Connie Marshall). Although Blandings has a good income as an advertising executive (in 1948 he is making $15,000.00 a year, which was like making $90,000.00 today), and lives in a luxury apartment - which in the New York City of that day he rents! - he feels they should seek something better. He and Muriel take a drive into the country (Connecticut) and soon find an old ruin that both imagine can be fixed up as that dream house they want.

And they both fall into the financial worm hole that buying land and construction can lead to. For one thing, they are so gung ho about the idea of building a home like this they fail to heed warning after warning by their wise, if cynical friend and lawyer Bill Cole (Melvin Douglas, in a nicely sardonic role). For example, Jim buys land from a Connecticut dealer (Ian Wolfe, sucking his chops quietly), with a check before double checking the correct cost for the land in that part of Connecticut. Bill points out he's paid about five or six thousand dollars more for the land than it is worth. There are problems about water supply that both Blandings just never think about, such as hard and soft water - which leads to the Zis - Zis Water softening machine. They find that the designs they have in mind, and have worked out with their architect (Reginald Denny), can't be dropped cheaply at a spur of the moment decision by Muriel to build a little rookery that nobody planned for.

The escalating costs of the project are one matter that bedevils Jim. He has been appointed to handle the "Wham" account ("Spam" had become a popular result of World War II, in that the public started using it as a meat substitute, in the light of it's success with the armed forces). Jim can't get a grip on this (he's not alone - one or two other executives fumbled it before him). He comes up with the following bit of "poetry"(?):

"This little piggy went to market,

He was pink and as pretty as ham.

He smiled in his tracks,

As they gave him the ax -

He knew he would end up as "Wham"!"

His Secretary looks at him as though he needs a straight jacket when he reads that one!

Jim also is increasingly suspicious of the attentions of Bill to Muriel, although (in this case) Bill is blameless. But he's always around (Jim keeps forgetting that Bill is the clearheaded one, and that he's keeping Jim and Muriel from making so many mistakes). All three have mishaps, the best being when they get locked in a room in the half constructed house, just as the men have left for the day. They can't open the door, and Jim (in a panic) tries breaking the door down by a make-shift battering ram. He breaks a window, and the door opens by itself.

The film works quite satisfactorily, with all of the actors apparently enjoying themselves. It is one film which (despite changing price levels and salary levels) really does not age at all. After all, most Americans dream of owning their own home and always have.

A number of years ago a paint company made use of a delightful scene with Myrna Loy and Emory Parnell regarding the paint job Parnell's company has to do on the various rooms. She carefully shows the distinct shades of red, blue, etc. she wants - even giving a polite Parnell a single thread for the right shade of blue. The commercials hinted that the paint company had a wide variety of colors to choose from for your paint job. They proudly called Loy "Mrs. Blandings" in the commercials' introduction. You can imagine though how the no-nonsense Parnell handles the situation afterward, when Loy leaves him with his paint crew.
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No guilty pleasure
Tongilulu30 November 2005
I first saw this film in 1980 in the midday movie spot. After many subsequent viewings (and purchase of the video) it still makes me laugh out loud.

Yes, it's a relic of another age - a domestic comedy set in affluent middle class America - but well executed is well executed. But it's also a document of its age - a celebration of post-war optimism, the baby boom and the nascent consumer age. This film is no "guilty" pleasure.

Three wonderful sophisticated leads actors - urbane Melvyn Douglas; bemused Cary Grant; daffily determined Myrna Loy - complement each other and a memorable team of characters.

My favourite scenes - "It means we gotta blast" and "Miss Stellwaggen" and "This little piggy".

Love it.
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"You've been taken to the cleaners, and you don't even know your pants are off."
bensonmum218 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
  • Having grown tired of the rat race and cramped living conditions of New York City, Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) finds a property in the country for his wife and children. He's hoping to find the simple life. But, building a house proves to be anything but simple. As the headaches and the bills start piling up, so do the laughs. Will Mr. Blanding's ever get his dream house?

  • What makes this movie so special is the three main actors - Grant, Myrna Loy, and Melvyn Douglas. Any of three are capable of carrying a movie on their own, so when you combine their talents, almost every scene is special. Grant has always been a favorite of mine in this type of role. He is so good at playing the put upon husband. Loy is a always a joy to watch. The Thin Man films she made with William Powell are near perfect. And Douglas has become a favorite of mine over the last two or three years. Douglas also appeared in The Old Dark House, a particular favorite of mine.

  • The movie is definitely a product of its time. I get a kick out of imagining a time when you could build a two-story, three bedroom, four bathroom house on $15,000 income a year. Throw in the fact that your two children attend private school and you have a live-in maid and it becomes almost fanciful.

  • However, for anyone who has bought or built a house, many of the situations and predicaments the Blanding's find themselves in are easily relatable to today. And that's where the comedy comes in. How many people have done some of the stupid things the couple does in this movie only to end up costing more money than expected? - The biggest complaint I have about Mr. Blandings is the whole "wife in love with best friend" subplot. It's really not necessary to the plot and feels out-of-place and very uncomfortable as presented.
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A timeless comedy that any homeowner can chuckle at
sdlitvin5 July 2003
While the prices have gone up a lot, and some of the details have become dated, any homeowner who's struggled with problems of homeownership should get a lot of chuckles out of this movie. I know I did.

Mr. Blandings, a New York ad executive, decides to move his family to the Connecticut suburbs and build himself a nice house there. He gets into one hilarious jam after another, from mortgages to lawsuits to construction difficulties, as the costs and schedule of the construction keep escalating out of control. I thought that the funniest scenes were where Blandings hires a contractor to dig a well for water. They dig down hundreds of feet, but never find water. Yet only a short distance away, a few days later, the basement of his house-to-be floods!

Cary Grant and Myrna Loy give believable performances as the harried Blandings couple overwhelmed by problems they never imagined, and Melvyn Douglas is even better as Blanding's lawyer and family friend.

The only caveat is that social attitudes have changed a lot since 1948. Mrs. Blandings is portrayed as a bit of a naive dimbulb who has no idea how much additional trouble she's causing, and there's a black maid (horrors!). So don't watch this movie through the social lens of 2003, and you'll enjoy it all the more.
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Required viewing for anybody considering building their own house...
AlsExGal15 January 2017
...because in many ways nothing has changed. If you can't live through what Mr. Blandings lives through in this film, don't do it! There at millions of already built homes in the United States! Pick one! Jim (Cary Grant) and Muriel (Myrna Loy) Blandings live in a Manhattan apartment with their two daughters and Jim is an advertising executive. So Jim and Muriel think it would be nice to live in the country on a big lot and buy - not sight unseen so much as site uninspected by professionals - a house in Connecticut that has been standing since the Continental Congress.

Unfortunately, every engineer who inspects it says it is a wonder of the modern world that it has not fallen down on its own, but of course it is not going to do that and make the Blandings' life easy, so they have pay to have it knocked down. Then they find out about an obscure law about knocking down a house that has a mortgage on it and have to pay 6000 dollars. And they haven't even gotten around to BUILDING the house they want! From the windowless bedroom, the logistics problems of getting to and from work - Mrs. Blandings read the train schedule wrong, getting trapped in the upstairs closet, to being forced to move before the house is ready - as in not having windows - this thing is hilarious on so many levels.

Jim Blandings' panic grows with the mounting bills, the misunderstandings that cost him thousands, and the ad campaign he must come up with to keep his job and have a chance at ever paying for any of this. Plus the stress has him imagining that his wife and attorney/friend (Melvyn Douglas as Bill Cole) are in love. They did go steady for a time during college, but that was it.

Now don't think that this is anything but a comedy. Plus I have never seen anybody who can play straight man to his own comedian as well as Cary Grant. Myrna Loy is sublime as the wife, completely unruffled by any of this, not a hair out of place. And she delivers the one liners as well as when she was Nora Charles. Melvyn Douglas is great as the friend and lends great deadpan comic support to the whole proceeding. Highly recommended.
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Cosy Little Eighteen Room Dream House
bkoganbing14 February 2008
One of Cary Grant's most enduring comedies is Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Although judging by the size of it the dwelling would be a dream mansion today. Still Cary was making a good living in the advertising field even though he was having a devil of a time trying to come up with a slogan for ham with the brand name of Wham.

What made this film so popular was the housing shortage of the post World War II years. Returning veterans from the war were claiming their entitlements under the GI Bill of Rights which included home loans. The problem was there literally were not enough houses to satisfy the demand. Around the time the book by Eric Hodgins and the film were so popular Congress passed and President Truman signed the Taft-Ellender- Wagner Housing law which put the government for the first time in the home building business.

I had an uncle and aunt who were around the same time building their own home which they moved into in the early Fifties. Like Cary Grant and Myrna Loy they had two daughters and were looking to get out of inner city Rochester. Their place wasn't quite as grand as a house in Connecticut with eighteen rooms, still they lived there the rest of their lives the way Cary and Myrna most likely did.

Of course it was expensive and the costs just keep adding up and up, threatening to send Cary to the cleaners. Cary and Myrna also have Melvyn Douglas around to offer counsel, usually too late. Truth be told he's kind of sweet on Myrna and Cary knows it.

Myrna Loy's role is simply an extension of Nora Charles. If you can imagine the Charles's moving to the country and William Powell having the headaches Cary Grant does, the film would still work just fine.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House still works well as comedy because the situations are universal. And this review is dedicated to my Uncle Walter and Aunt Kate who lived in their dream house together for over 40 years.
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Some of the greatest comedic dialog and memorable quotes ever!
archileach11 September 2004
This film has some of the greatest comedic dialog and memorable quotes ever assembled in one film! The plot is somewhat lacking, but the delightful quips are enough to make up the difference. This is a timeless movie for all ages that is sure to please. As a cinematic art form it is highly entertaining; and with major stars like Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Melvyn Douglas... how could you go wrong?

Comedic dialog and timeing such as this has long been undervalued, and is very difficult to imitate. A good example of this is seen in the 1986 knockoff of this film: The Money Pit, with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Despite the talent and physical comedy of these stars, the film dragged and received poor reviews and viewer comments. Achieving true comedic dialog is an art.
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Over the top gags and watered down comic suspense--but hey, Loy and Grant are essentials.
secondtake12 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

The year is 1948. Lots of returning G.I.s are struggling to adjust to post-War America and Hollywood responded with film noir. But the other side to that scene is about those who made it through the war intact, or who returned and started a family and got a job and were ready for the American Dream.

Enter the Blandings family and the beginning of the rush to suburbia. The famous Levittown middle class housing project got going full steam in 1948. Bedrooms for the kids, a lawn of your own, and, alas, a long commute were going to be the new reality.

The comic first few minutes (with a sarcastic voice-over) show New York to be crazed mayhem, which sets you up for the last few minutes showing a much less sarcastic mayhem in Connecticut. Historic preservation is years away for most Americans, so the old house and its lovely stone foundations inspire only the intoned, "Tear it down." And the dream house, on the salary of this not so unbland rich advertising executive (Cary Grant), goes up. His wife, also not completely bland, played by Myrna Loy, manages to make her spoiled greed cute, if unreasonable to both her husband and to us. Throw in a very contrived conflict of an old love interest of hers, and you have the gist of it all.

As much as I love both Loy and Grant very much, and was glad to see this again, the writing and editing and filming struck me as clunky and uninspired. It's funny at times, for sure, but with lots of groans or lulls between. I know this is a matter of taste, and I see a lot of people give this movie high marks, and I don't blame them. But just a heads up on it. I just watched some earlier Grant screwballs (Philadelphia Story, His Girl Friday) and saw Loy in the Thin Man series, and maybe Mr. Blandings is just thin going by comparison. Director H.C. (Henry, not Harry) Potter was unknown then as now, and you get a feeling another director, a Cukor or a Hawks, might have pulled of a different feeling with the same parts.

The basic story was timely then and might make sense to anyone now who has tried to rehab an old house or build a new one. That was the hook for me, and I felt for Mr. Blandings. However, the little tensions that make for comic, not tragic, possibility are diffused almost as soon as they begin. You'll see this most in the hinted at jealousy Mr. Blandings has for the sidekick adviser played by Melvyn Douglas. When Blandings suspects some foulplay with his wife you see Grant's face come alive, and then a minute later Mrs. Blandings (Loy) has convinced him it's not true. All is well. Back to drab wisecracks and stereotyped construction workers.

This is not really a screwball comedy so much as a screwy one, silly and restrained in some wrong places. Character actors are, normally, supposed to have character, and too often little bit parts that have potential come out all permanent press, from Douglas to the secretary in Mr. Blandings's office. The African-American maid is a wonderful, lively actress and brief gust of fresh air, but she is also typecast. This isn't so rare to mention in this period, but the plot brings attention to it because she invents the very phrase that Mr. Blandings is being paid big bucks to come up with, and Blandings uses it. What does she get? A ten dollar raise.

Social justice, not.

Watch this movie for purely frivolous entertainment, which it can be at its best.
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A must see
alaskangirl5 June 2001
I loved this film. I first saw it when I was 20 ( which was only four years ago) and I enjoyed it so much, I brought my own copy the next day. The comedy is well played by all involved. I always have to rewind and rewatch the scene where Mr. Tsanders explains why he found water at 6 ft in one area and 227 feet in another area. Also look for Jason Robards father who plays Mr. Retch. Talent ran in that family.
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An absolute, unquestionable 10!
starpylot23 October 2001
This wonderful movie is timeless! It was re-made years later as "The Money Pit" with Tom Hanks. As much as I like Hanks, "Pit" was a pale imitation.

Having just built an addition on my house, I can honestly say that there were moments when watching Grant & Loy in "Mr. Blandings" not only kept my sanity, but showed me that some things never change... >sigh<

The dialogue is sparkling, the chemistry of Grant & Loy, as always, was magical! I find myself frequently "doing bits" from this movie. The paint-picking scene is indelibly etched in my mind! This gem is not to be missed!

"See the way what she leans?"
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Maybe you had to be there
mlraymond3 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen this movie several times, and not once has it ever struck me as funny. There are a few slightly amusing moments, when the couple first are shown the house by realtor Ian Wolfe, but most of the movie is them getting more into debt, and more upset with each other, all over this great idea to build a new house.

I just don't see the humor in Cary Grant's character blundering into one bad decision after another, and the rising tension that marks the film. To be honest, I would be rather suspicious too, if an old friend always seemed to be hanging around when I wasn't there. The idea that Melvyn Douglas and Myrna Loy might be cheating on Cary Grant doesn't seem all that far fetched.

For an alleged comedy, there's a really bleak quality to this story. The way it's all conveniently wrapped up at the end is just a little too neat for me, after all the agony this family has gone through.Maybe the movie has been misunderstood as a comedy, when it is in fact a bitter satire on the pitfalls of building a home. Satire is not the same thing as comedy, though it may use humor to make a point.

There are very few old movies I dislike, but to be honest, this just doesn't work for me. I find too much real bitterness in it to make it work as the comedy it's supposed to be.
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Perils of the American Dream
ivan-229 August 2000
Superb and very intelligent SERIOUS comedy, that was of course, written off by the critics. A more telling title would have been "The nightmare of home ownership". A man decides to buy a house and move out of his cramped apartment. He buys an old one, but has to demolish it because it is rotten to the core. All sorts of complications ensue, costs pile up, the man loses his peace of mind and can no longer do his work. He is about to be fired. There is an obligatory and perfunctory happy ending, but the message was clear: SUCKERS BEWARE! Buying a home can be a nightmare. The movie was painful to watch because I know people who LIVED it. To buy a home is to buy an entire neighborhood and an entire destiny, because your life will be affected greatly.
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Mr. Blandings Builds a Dream Movie
OtherDaryl6 February 2005
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House may be the best Frank Capra/Preston Sturges movie neither man ever made! If you love Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelpia Story, The Thin Man, I Was A Male War Bride or It's a Wonderful Life - movies made with wit, taste and and the occasional tongue firmly panted in cheek, check this one out. Post WWII life is simply and idyllically portrayed.

Grant is at the absolute top of his form playing the city mouse venturing into the life of a country squire. Loy is adorable as his pre-NOW wife. The cast of supporting characters compares to You Can't Take It With You and contains an early bit by future Tarzan Lex Barker. Art Direction and Editing are way above par.

The movie never stoops to the low-rent, by-the-numbers venal slapstick of the later adaptation The Money Pit.
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Great Comedy, Home Buyers Beware!
prisner625 September 2003
One of the great classic comedies. Not a slapstick comedy, not a heavy drama. A fun, satirical film, a buyers beware guide to a new home.

Filled with great characters all of whom, Cary Grant is convinced, are out to fleece him in the building of a dream home.

A great look at life in the late 40's.
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"In case of emergency, break glass."
slymusic28 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" is a witty, charming little domestic comedy starring one of my favorite actors: the unforgettable Cary Grant. His character - Jim Blandings, Manhattan advertising executive - lives with his lovely wife Muriel (Myrna Loy) and their two daughters in an overly cramped apartment. When Jim spots a magazine ad about owning a home in Lansdale, Connecticut, that's enough to convince him to begin building his dream house. Problem is, Jim is a man who does things on impulse without first consulting his lawyer Bill Cole (Melvyn Douglas). In the end, Jim quits his job (temporarily), loses practically all of his money over the new house, and might have lost his sanity as well had it not been for Gussie (Louise Beavers), the Blandings' housekeeper who finally comes up with that perfect slogan for Wham Ham.

The cast of "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" is wonderful. Cary Grant is so great at comic acting as he portrays Jim Blandings with all his befuddlement and hysteria. Myrna Loy was the perfect choice for the role of Jim's wife Muriel because she is very funny without ever TRYING to be. Melvyn Douglas is super as Jim's attorney Bill Cole, who is absolutely full of witticisms and who serves as the narrator of the picture. Reginald Denny is great as architect Henry L. Simms, who becomes quite baffled at all the unrealistic additions that Mr. & Mrs. Blandings want for their new home. The African-American Louise Beavers is quite adorable as the Blandings' lovable housekeeper Gussie. Not to mention Harry Shannon as Mr. Tesander, who digs the Blandings' well at their new home ("Yeee-ep"); Tito Vuolo as the frustrated steam shovel operator Mr. Zucca; Nestor Paiva as crackerjack structural engineer Joe Appolonio; and Connie Marshall & Sharyn Moffett as the Blandings children Betsy and Joan, respectively.

Highlights: The establishing shots of the Blandings' apartment clearly indicate a lack of storage space; Jim particularly has trouble with his bedroom closet. As he steps in the shower, Jim belts out "Home on the Range" to hide his sudden discontentment with the water temperature. While in Bill's office, Jim delivers quite a convincing speech regarding how there are some things you should just buy with your heart and not your head. Jim and Muriel clearly possess no knowledge of architecture as they draw over Mr. Simms' preliminary plans. Jim and Bill repeatedly get locked in the upstairs storage room of the Blandings' new house; all they can do to get anyone's attention is to pound nail kegs on the floor. Muriel is quite funny in her manner of describing to Mr. PeDelford (Emory Parnell) the colors from her wall painting samples. On the morning of the due date for the Wham slogan, Jim comes up with some that are pathetic! And finally, Muriel is especially funny in confessing to Jim that she authorized the rather expensive installation of a flower sink with a drain and a stone floor ("Just four little pieces of flagstone").

"Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" starts slowly and takes a little time to gain momentum, but once it does, the audience is in for a very enjoyable comedy. In the end, everything turns out well for the Blandings family as Jim tells the audience, "Drop in and see us sometime."
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If you decide to build a house, watch this movie
toj920 December 2006
This movie was made in 1948, but it still rings true today. Very, very funny. It begins with a family wanting to buy a little place in the country and it "builds" from there. Anyone who has ever built a house, will find this movie very endearing. Great cast. Cary Grant and Myrna Lloyd are delightful in this film. This is a classic black and white film that reflects the grand style of the 40', architecture and family life. Many references are made to the cost of things, and those comparisons to today's costs are pretty amazing. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this movie completely. I am surprised of the number of middle aged people who have never heard of it. A true classic.
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