Favorite things about… Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

(Image via movies.zap2it.com)

The favorite film:
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
, a 1948 comedy released by RKO and directed by H. C. Potter.

The synopsis:
Jim and Muriel Blandings are a Manhattan couple attempting to build their dream house. Fed up with apartment living and the hectic pace of the big city, the Blandings family wants to make a quieter life for themselves and their two daughters in the beautiful countryside of Connecticut. But as Jim and Muriel each try to work their outlandish demands into the plans for the house all while staying on a budget, things don’t work out quite as easily as they expected. They’re “helped” along by long-time family friend and lawyer Bill Cole and their architect, Simms.

The cast:
Cary Grant as Jim Blandings
Myrna Loy as Muriel Blandings
Melvyn Douglas as Bill Cole
Reginald Denny as Simms
Sharyn Moffett and Connie Marshall as Joan and Betsy, the Blandings daughters

Fun facts:

  • Irene Dunne was originally slated for the role of Muriel Blandings due to the success of her previous films alongside Grant. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for fans of Loy – myself included), Dunne had to turn down the film since she was busy with I Remember Mama.
  • The 1946 novel Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House originally appeared in Fortune magazine. A sequel titled Blandings Way was published in 1950. Both were written by former Fortune publisher and vice president of Time Inc., Eric Hodgins.
  • The story has also been adapted as Ice Cube’s 2007 family comedy Are We Done Yet?
Jim and Muriel get scolded by one of the men working on the unfinished floors of the house they’re already moving into. (Image via doctormacro.com)
  • The Blandings home actually exists in two forms. The house used in the movie stands at the 20th Century Fox Ranch in California; A Blandings-style home was built by Eric Hodgins, who wrote the novel on which the film is based, and his wife in New Milford, Connecticut.
  • Eric Hodgins’ Blandings home was sold in 2004 for over $1 million.
  • The Blandings house cost just under $40,000 for both the property and the construction in 1948. Today, it would cost nearly $400,000.

Favorite things:

(Image via doctormacro.com)
  • Architectural credits: The film’s opening titles are displayed over images of blueprints
  • Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas were all ridiculously talented performers, and they’re wonderful to watch on-screen together.
  • Cary Grant and Myrna Loy both sing “Home on the Range” in the shower. Is this the designated shower song of the Blandings family?
  • Jim Blandings is an ad man, but becomes easily duped into buying a less-than-perfect country home after seeing an ad for Connecticut real estate.
  • Myrna Loy flaunts a lovely wardrobe in this film that is both structured and stylish. The styling of her character is perfect!
  • Melvyn Douglas and his ultra-snarky narration are a highlight, especially in the scene when the Blandings family finally moves into the new house.
  • Cary Grant is shown reading the novel that the film is based on in the final scene.
  • Quotes:
    • Bill (narrating): “Manhattan! New York! U-S-A!”
    • Jim: “I am not interested in discussing the grain and texture of Bill Cole’s hair follicles before I’ve had my breakfast.”
    • Jim: “If there’s one thing this family needs, it’s closets!”
    • Muriel: “I refused to endanger the health of my children in a house with less than four bathrooms.”
    • Muriel (after Jim smashes a window to get out of the locked-but-not-locked shed): “In case of emergency, break glass.”
Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Favorite things about… Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

    1. Glad to hear that you liked the post! There’ll be quite a few “favorite things” posts throughout this busy semester. This is one of my favorite Cary Grant films. Everything about it is lovable.

      Like

Leave a Reply to silverscreenings Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.