Cary Grant and Myrna Loy team up together for their third and final time in comedy classic Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
The film got a new Blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive Collection in May after a 4K scan from the original negative. The picture is certainly better than ever. You should check out the film if you haven’t done so already. There’s a few bonus features including a pair of radio productions (Lux Radio Theater and Screen Directors Playhouse), a cartoon, and the re-issue trailer.
Advertising account executive Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) lives in a cramped Manhattan apartment with wife Muriel (Myrna Loy) and their daughters, Betsy (Connie Marshall) and Joan (Sharyn Moffett). Muriel has plans to knock down a wall in the apartment and when Jim sees an ad about homes in Connecticut, the family starts becoming excited about moving. It may not be Manhattan but it’s house with an actual yard!
In typical comedy fashion, they pay way more for their new home than they should. The house is dilapidated and closing in on 200 years old. Jim’s decision gets him chastised by his lawyer/friend, Bill Cole (Melvyn Douglas). Bill was certainly right to chastise Jim because anything that can go wrong does. This is one of those unwritten rules of comedy and it’s why this film is so funny. The previous owner’s mortgage isn’t even paid off and next thing you know, they have to tear the structure down! Between this, work, and and everything, Jim starts questioning the decision to move. Everything eventually works out in the end because it’s an unwritten rule in the movies.
The film’s premise is the type that makes for great comedy fodder. We’ve gotten two remakes since its release! After two pairings, Grant and Loy have a solid working relationship, too. Behind the camera, H.C. Potter isn’t a memorable name but what helps is the work from cinematographer James Wong Howe. There are shots that Howe pulls off just for fun, it seems, including a 360-degree pan. A better director would certainly make Mr. Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse a stronger comedy but it’s still a solid watch over 70 years later.
You can never go wrong with Cary Grant. There’s a reason why he’s a screen legend and his performance here is no exception. Among Grant pictures, the film is in the upper tier. Upon its 1948 release, the film also underperformed and ended up losing money. Grant got a nice payday out of it with a $100,000 downpayment. However, the film is listed in the AFI 100 Years, 100 Laughs list.
DIRECTOR: H.C. Potter
SCREENWRITERS: Norman Panama and Melvin Frank
CAST: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas, with Reginald Denny, Sharyn Moffett, Connie Marshall, Louise Beavers, Ian Wolfe