Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
|Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House|
|Directed by||H. C. Potter|
|Produced by||Dore Schary
|Written by||Eric Hodgins (novel)
Norman Panama (screenplay)
|Music by||Leigh Harline|
|Cinematography||James Wong Howe|
|Editing by||Harry Marker|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Release dates||June 4, 1948|
|Running time||93 minutes|
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) is an American comedy film directed by H. C. Potter and starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. The film was written and produced by the team of Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, and was an adaptation of Eric Hodgins' popular 1946 novel, illustrated by William Steig.
The film was a box office hit upon its release, and has remained a popular film through cable television broadcasts and the home video market. Warner Home Video released the film to DVD with restored and remastered audio and video in 2004. In 1986 the novel was adapted for film again for the Tom Hanks, Shelley Long movie The Money Pit, and in 2007 a loose remake of the 1948 film was released under the title Are We Done Yet?
Jim Blandings (Grant), a bright account executive in the advertising business, lives with his wife Muriel (Loy) and two daughters in a cramped New York apartment. Muriel secretly plans to remodel their apartment. After rejecting this idea, Jim Blandings comes across an ad for new homes in Connecticut and they get excited about moving.
Planning to purchase and "fix up" an old home, the couple contact a real estate agent, who uses them to unload "The Old Hackett Place" in fictional Lansdale County, Connecticut. It is a dilapidated, two-hundred-year-old farmhouse. Blandings purchases the property for more than the going rate for land in the area, provoking his friend/lawyer Bill Cole (Douglas) to chastise him for following his heart rather than his head. (Cole narrates the film, smoking a pipe, an apparent nod to the stage manager character in Thornton Wilder's Our Town.)
The old house, dating from the Revolutionary War-era, turns out to be structurally unsound and has to be torn down. The Blandingses hire architect Simms (Reginald Denny) to design and supervise the construction of the new home. From the original purchase to the new house's completion, a long litany of unforeseen troubles and setbacks beset the hapless Blandings and delay their moving-in date.
On top of all this, at work Jim is assigned the task of coming up with a slogan for "WHAM" Brand Ham, an advertising account that has destroyed the careers of previous account executives assigned to it. Jim also suspects that Muriel is cheating on him with Bill Cole after Bill slept at the Blandingses's alone in the house with Muriel one night due to a violent thunderstorm.
With mounting pressure, skyrocketing expenses, and his new assignment, Jim starts to wonder why he wanted to live in the country. The Blandingses's maid Gussie provides Blandings with the perfect WHAM slogan, and he saves his job. As the film ends, Bill Cole says that he realizes that some things "you do buy with your heart."
According to Time magazine, "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 that 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 jackpot."
The film recorded a loss during its initial theatrical release of $225,000.
|Cary Grant||James Blandings|
|Myrna Loy||Muriel Blandings|
|Melvyn Douglas||William "Bill" Cole|
|Reginald Denny||Henry Simms|
|Jason Robards, Sr.||John Retch|
|Lex Barker||Carpenter Foreman|
|Connie Marshall||Betsy Blandings|
|Sharyn Moffett||Joan Blandings|
|Ian Wolfe||Real Estate Agent Smith|
|Nestor Paiva||Joe Appolonio|
|Harry Shannon||W.D. Tesander|
|Tito Vuolo||Mr. Zucca|
As a promotion for the film, the studio built 73 "dream houses" in various locations in the United States, selling some of them by raffle; over 60 of the houses were equipped by General Electric, including the ones in the following cities:
Phoenix, AZ, Little Rock, AR, Bakersfield, CA, Fresno, CA, Oakland, CA, Sacramento, CA, San Diego, CA, San Francisco, CA, Denver, CO, Bridgeport, CT, Hartford, CT, Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Indianapolis, IN, South Bend, IN, Terre Haute, IN, Des Moines, IA, Louisville, KY, Baltimore, MD, Worcester, MA, Detroit, MI, Grand Rapids, MI, St. Paul, MN, Kansas City, MO, St. Louis, MO, Omaha, NE, Tenafly, NJ, Albuquerque, NM, Albany, NY, Buffalo, NY, Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Tarrytown, NY, Utica, NY, Greensboro, NC, Rocky Mount, NC, Cleveland, OH, Columbus, OH, Toledo, OH, Oklahoma City, OK, Tulsa, OK, Cedar Hills, OR (near Portland), Philadelphia, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Providence, RI, Chattanooga, TN, Memphis, TN, Nashville, TN, Amarillo, TX, Austin, TX, Austin, TX, Dallas, TX, Fort Worth, TX, Houston, TX, Salt Lake City, UT, Seattle, WA, and Spokane, WA.
Locations included Bakersfield, California; Worcester and East Natick, Massachusetts; Portland, Oregon; and Ottawa Hills, Ohio. Thousands lined up in front of the house in Ottawa Hills, paying admission to view the house at its opening.
The story behind the film began as an April 1946 article written by Eric Hodgins for Fortune magazine; that article was reprinted in Reader's Digest and (in condensed form) in Life before being published as a novel.
Melvin Frank and Norman Panama adapted the novel of the same name; their script is fairly faithful to the novel, with some dialogue used verbatim. The time frame of the movie is telescoped, and some plot lines are added and removed. The movie omits some troubles contained in the book, such as a feud with the local banker and the hostility with which Blandings is greeted by some local townspeople. The role of Bill Cole is enlarged in the movie, and includes a new subplot related to his wife that is not in the novel. The subplot related to Blandings's job troubles and the "Wham" account is not in the book.
The DVD release of the film includes two radio adaptations, both with Cary Grant reprising his leading role. Irene Dunne played his wife Muriel in the October 10, 1949, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on CBS (running one hour; Grant's wife Betsy Drake played Muriel in the June 9, 1950, broadcast on NBC's Screen Director's Playhouse (a 1/2 hour version).
Are We Done Yet? (a sequel to the 2005 film Are We There Yet?) starring Ice Cube, was released on April 4, 2007.
- "Are We Done Yet? (2007)". New York Times. April 4, 2007. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "The New Pictures". Time. April 5, 1948. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 420
- "A home made famous in the 1948 mega-hit ‘Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House’ is in Ottawa Hills". toledoblade.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- General Electric has made your Dream House come true! (advertisement). Life. June 28, 1948. p. 78. ISSN 0024-3019. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- The Oregonian (January 17, 2012). "Mr. Blandings’ Dream House, 1948". Vintage Portland. vintageportland.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2012-11-04. "The Portland-area house was built in the Cedar Hills area of Beaverton... on the northwest corner of SW Walker Road and Mayfield Avenue."
- Susie Steckner (August 2008). "Arizona Dreamin’". Phoenix magazine. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- Nicholas Graham (July 2013). "Mr Blandings Dream House Rocky Mount NC". Digital NC blog. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- Benjamin Briggs (October 2012). "Secrets of Hamilton Lake". Preservation Greensboro blog. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- Mr. Blandings Builds His Castle. Life. April 29, 1946. p. 114ff. ISSN 0024-3019. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- Mr. Blandings Goes to Hollywood. Life. April 12, 1948. pp. 111–124. ISSN 0024-3019. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House". radio adaptation. Lux Radio Theater via the Internet Archive. October 10, 1949. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House at the Internet Movie Database