“Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” – Cary Grant and Myrna Loy
Jim Blandings (Cary Grant): “It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. The minute you start they put you on the all-American sucker list. You start out to build a home and wind up in the poorhouse. And if it can happen to me, what about the guys who aren’t making $15,000 a year? The ones who want a home of their own. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you, against every boy and girl who were ever in love.”
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948 RKO Pictures) is a comedy starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. Grant and Loy play Jim and Muriel Blandings, a married couple with two daughters, who all live in a cramped New York City apartment. Muriel wants to remodel the apartment but Jim rejects the idea. After coming across an ad in the newspaper for new homes in Connecticut, the couple decides to buy and fix up an old home. Jim decides to buy an old farmhouse as a fixer up and gets bilked into purchasing “The Old Hackett Place” which is a dilapidated 200 year old farm house. The old house is declared to be structurally unsound by an engineer. Unlivable and unfixable, “The Old Hackett” place has to be torn down. The Blandings then hire an architect to design and build a new house on the site within a certain budget. Of course, this being a comedy, all kinds of problems arise with the building of a new house out in the country while working in the city. On top of that, Jim is handed the account for “Wham! Ham” at the advertising company where he works. He has to come up with a new slogan for selling “Wham! Ham!” very quickly or possibly lose his job. Also adding to the mix is Jim’s long suffering lawyer Bill Cole (played by Melvyn Douglass), who also happens to be Muriel’s high school sweetheart, with whom Muriel is still very close to. The movie also stars Reginald Denny as Mr. Simms, the architect hired to design and build the Blandings new house.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is a great little comedy. Relaxing, easy to watch, with laughs from start to finish. Cary Grant is great as the bewildered and clueless husband-advertising executive caught up in a situation that is over his head. Myrna Loy as his loving and understanding wife is also very good. The chemistry between Grant and Loy is unmistakable and their comedic timing is delivered as only these two great stars can. Melvyn Douglas narrates the story from time to time and is very funny in his role as lawyer, friend, advisor, and ex college sweetheart. The rest of the supporting cast also adds to the comedy, as anything that can go wrong does.