Houseboat

  • 1958
  • 1 HR 50 MIN
  • NR
  • Comedy

A sophisticated, pleasant comedy sees Grant upset at how his motherless children are farmed out to wealthy Virginia relatives, so he gathers them to himself, installing them in his Washington, DC apartment. Living arrangements are cramped, however, and Grant solves the dilemma by moving the whole brood into a houseboat, including Loren, who has fled her...read more

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A sophisticated, pleasant comedy sees Grant upset at how his motherless children are farmed out to wealthy Virginia relatives, so he gathers them to himself, installing them in his Washington, DC apartment. Living arrangements are cramped, however, and Grant solves the dilemma by moving the

whole brood into a houseboat, including Loren, who has fled her dictatorial father Ciannelli, a famous orchestra conductor. She acts as housemaid and governess to the children while Grant tries to keep order on the floating domicile. Grant and Loren, after several amusing mishaps, find themselves

in love and, ignoring the opposition of the children, marry and settle down for keeps. Grant is the whole show here, doing a marvelously funny job of assuming the role of working father, although his children put him through some hilarious paces. Loren is fetching, though her accent makes her

lines next to impossible to understand. She is also much too voluptuous, sensuous, and earthy for the youthful ingenue role she played. Just why these spoiled children are drawn to her is never made clear. The children are precocious and create just enough mayhem to keep things moving along.

Shavelson does an outstanding job as director, his specialty being comedy; his timing works perfectly with Grant's matchless delivery. Loren, during the filming, was married to Italian film mogul Carlo Ponti by proxy in Mexico. It was reported that the 53-year-old Grant and the 24-year-old Loren

became emotionally involved during the production but this ended with the proxy marriage. Shavelson had some difficulty in getting Loren's swarthy complexion lightened with makeup, saying at one point that she looked as if she were doing an "imitation of Al Jolson." She also affected a

high-pitched voice, attempting to imitate Grant's sophisticated delivery, and again the director had to correct her. The film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.

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