My kids and I have enjoyed Houseboat for years. What’s not to like? A catchy little song that sticks in your brain till you want fund a campaign to eradicate ear-worms, a cute little boy in Kennedy-ish knee pants playing a harmonica, a beautiful Maryland estate…oh and Cary Grant and Sophia Loren!
This time around Cary plays a widower with three children he barely knows. For whatever reason, he and the lovely mother of these children split and he continued his Foreign Service or CIA Operative career without them. He’s back in D.C. now to begin caring for the three kids–a lovely daughter and two boys, all a bit unforgiving. Enter Sophia Loren as the 1950’s version of Fran Fine aka The Nanny, toss in the apparently still present post-war housing squeeze and you have a romantic comedy set on a leaky old houseboat that you’ll never forget. Oh, did I mention that 50’s child star, and today’s leading child-star advocate, Paul Peterson, stars as son David? Yep. He was a big name then thanks to the Donna Reed show.
Complications arrive with the Country Club set family of Grant’s late wife. A sister-in-law who is single, has an eye for Cary and adores the kids as only a loving aunt can. But, heck, what man would not take a look at Sophia Loren for gosh sakes? What’s a guy to do? The gal most like his late wife in the whole world or a….well…I’ll just say it…a bombshell who gets the moody kid in knee pants to have fun? Watch it and find out. Houseboat.
And, yes, if you think the photo on the left is a bit too “smolder-y” for a family movie from the 1950’s you are correct. Grant and Loren were having a bit of an affair at the time. Here’s an interesting article on her side of it all. Should you pray about leaving your partner for another? hmmmmm I like the part about Cary’s newly estranged wife coming up with the idea for the film, but I really can’t picture anyone but Sophia in the role.
So, sing it with me “A bing, bang, bong…”