Houseboat (film)

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Houseboat 1958.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMelville Shavelson
Written by
Produced byJack Rose
StarringCary Grant
Sophia Loren
Martha Hyer
Harry Guardino
CinematographyRay June
Edited byFrank Bracht
Music byGeorge Duning
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 19, 1958 (1958-11-19)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.5 million (domestic rentals)[1]

Houseboat is a 1958 American romantic comedy film directed by Melville Shavelson. Both the love theme "Almost In Your Arms", sung by Sam Cooke and "Bing! Bang! Bong!", sung by Sophia Loren, were written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It was presented in Technicolor and VistaVision.

Starring Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Martha Hyer, Harry Guardino, the film was written by Shavelson and Jack Rose (based on an original script by Grant's wife at the time, Betsy Drake). It was released on November 19, 1958.


For over three years, Tom Winters (Cary Grant), a lawyer working for the US State Department, has been separated from his wife and three children: David (Paul Petersen), Elizabeth (Mimi Gibson), and Robert (Charles Herbert). The film begins as he returns home to Washington from Europe following his wife's death. The children want to stay in the countryside with their mother's wealthy parents and her sister Carolyn (Martha Hyer), but instead Tom takes them with him to live in Washington, D.C. One evening, they attend an outdoor concert; but after it ends, Robert separates himself from the family and disappears. He later shows up in a small rowboat with an Italian girl, Cinzia (Sophia Loren), who seeks to experience America up close and personal. They land at a nearby carnival, where they eat pizza, dance, and "win" a harmonica. Later, she brings Robert home to a worried Tom. The next day, he hires her as maid to care for the children while he is away.

What follows are a series of misadventures as Tom attempts to move Cinzia and the kids away from Washington to a house in the country but wind up the inhabitants of a leaky, rotting houseboat. However. a complete renovation of the premises proves successful, and their floating new home becomes the backdrop for various episodes where Tom is finally able to win over his children—not to mention Cinzia, who is unable to cook, do laundry, or even make coffee. Winters' sister-in-law, Carolyn, suspects Cinzia's relationship with Tom is not entirely platonic. So does Tom's military aide, Captain Wilson (Murray Hamilton), who while somewhat drunk, rudely jokes about Cinzia's living arrangement with Winters. In the end, though, all misunderstandings are explained and Tom Winters finally marries his maid, as the children look on approvingly.


Grant and Freeman


Grant's wife Betsy Drake wrote the original script, and Grant originally intended that she would star with him. After he began an affair with Loren while filming The Pride and the Passion (1957), Grant arranged for Loren to take Drake's place with a rewritten script for which Drake did not receive credit. The affair ended in bitterness before The Pride and the Passion's filming ended, causing problems on the Houseboat set. Grant hoped to resume the relationship, but Loren agreed to marry Carlo Ponti instead.[2]

Filming locations[edit]

  • Parts of the movie were filmed in Fort Washington, Maryland on the Potomac River and Piscataway Creek at the present site of Fort Washington marina.
  • This film was also shot on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.
  • The amusement park featured in the movie was Glen Echo Park, located on the Potomac River in the Cabin John section of Montgomery County, Maryland.
  • The home in opening scene is located in Mount Vernon, Virginia
  • The hotel featured in the movie is the former Continental Hotel, located on Capitol Hill until it was demolished in the 1970s.
  • Also featured is the former Watergate barge stage behind the Lincoln Memorial on the Potomac River (1935–1965). (The Watergate barge is not to be confused with the Watergate complex.)


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 64% based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 5.84/10.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cohn, Lawrence (October 15, 1990). "All-Time Film Rental Champs". Variety. p. M164.
  2. ^ Jaynes, Barbara Grant; Trachtenberg, Robert (2004). Cary Grant: A Class Apart. Burbank, California: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Turner Entertainment.
  3. ^ "Boathouse (1958)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  4. ^ "THE 31ST ACADEMY AWARDS 1959". Oscars. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  5. ^ "Golden Globe Awards for 'Harry Guardino'". Golden Globe. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Retrieved May 12, 2017.[user-generated source]
  7. ^ "Decoding Mahesh Bhatt: A Life In Films". The Quint. 20 September 2017.

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