Tom Winston, a widower, is trying to understand and raise three precocious children alone. He gets a little unexpected help from Cinzia, when the children decide she is be the new maid. She is actually an Italian socialite who is trying to get away from her overprotective father.
Cary Grant ... Tom Winters
Sophia Loren ... Cinzia Zaccardi
Martha Hyer ... Carolyn Gibson
Harry Guardino ... Angelo Donatello
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Arturo Zaccardi
Murray Hamilton ... Capt. Alan Wilson
Mimi Gibson ... Elizabeth Winters
Paul Petersen ... David Winters
Charles Herbert ... Robert Winters
Madge Kennedy ... Mrs. Farnsworth
John Litel ... Mr. William Farnsworth
Werner Klemperer ... Harold Messner
Cary Grant, prominent diplomat and widower, is trying to get acquainted again with his three kids, Paul Petersen, Mimi Gibson, and Charles Herbert. He\'s also got a sister-in-law, Martha Hyer, crushing out on him big time.
But after the youngest kid, Herbert, wanders away after a concert, he meets Sophia Loren who is also running away from her conductor father, Eduardo Ciannelli. They are soul mates Herbert and Loren and before long she\'s moved in on the Grant family.
Which is forced by circumstance I won\'t reveal to live on a houseboat in the woods in Maryland. The Houseboat and its many problems lend itself to a whole lot of physical problems and one rather dramatic one, when one of the kids nearly drowns. Cary gets a lot of good mileage out of the comedy.
This was Cary and Sophia\'s second film together and it was one big improvement on the overblown Pride and the Passion. No doubt that the two of them were still involved from The Pride and the Passion lends a lot of truth in the scenes Grant and Loren play together.
Also look for a nice performance by Harry Guardino who\'s the one who is responsible for the group being on the Houseboat.
Houseboat is a nice family comedy and hasn\'t aged a bit from the Fifties when it was made.
Houseboat has very clearly survived the test of time and is today a pleasure to watch.
Everything that could go wrong in this movie, fortunately goes right and the result is a funny, family comedy. A gem.
Cary Grant plays a lawyer, who\'s about to finalize his divorce when his wife dies in an automobile accident. To prevent his three children, to whom he\'s had very few contact in the last years, to be separated, by their aunt and grandfather, he decides to take them to his small house in Washington, but by a series of circumstances ends up living in a houseboat in the country, that will change him forever. Sophia Loren is Cinzia a spoiled rebel girl, who lives in the shadow of her father, a famous maestro. To escape her dull live she poses as a poor italian girl, abandoned by her fiancée in order to go to work as a house keeper for Cary. What comes next, everybody knows. Love.
The story is not completely original, but it works. The script is very funny, the dialogue interesting and well written. Even if it might follow a formula, it still accomplishes what the audience asks, and maybe more. Behind all the comedy and laughs, there is undoubtedly the purpose to give a better image of what being a father is, the problems that occur when raising children, and how to solve them without violence. We all know what violence can do, the traumas it causes and how it haunts a person all through her live. If all the parents followed Cinzia´s advice and tried to understand their children instead of beating them, maybe the world would be a better place.
The direction is not perfect, but Melville Shavelson delivers a nice solid performance, with some bright moments. The best part of `Houseboat\' is the cast. Cary Grant… well what can be said? Its not his talent, but more his personality that captivates us. Who wouldn\'t like to be Cary Grant? In here he follows other great performances, bringing us a true gentleman, polite, smart and funny. He puts his heart in his work, and is as always a pleasure to watch.
Sophia Loren. The diva, the symbol, the woman. Her beauty, in a wild, sexy way, lights up the screen. Every frame is a masterpiece. The movie is worth for her alone. All the rest is bonus.
Its also interesting to see Cary and Sophia act together knowing they were involved romantically in real life and how it ended. Priceless.
The children are sweet, and work hard to do their job the best they can.
Houseboat is sweet, light, and recommended to anyone who needs to focus on the beautiful things of life. It\'s sure to make you feel good.
\'Houseboat\' is a throwback to the kind of sweet, happy comedies Cary Grant did in the late \'40s-early 50s, and it foreshadows the domestic comedies James Stewart and Henry Fonda would do in the sixties. Granted, there is more romance (and with Sophia Loren as the objection of affection, Cary has it all OVER Jimmy and Hank!) but ultimately, it scores as a terrific family movie, as Loren, playing an inept but adorable housekeeper/nanny, wins the affection of widower Grant\'s kids, and awakens in him a more complete love than he was experiencing with his society girlfriend (played effectively by the beautiful Martha Hyer).
Living in a rundown houseboat to save on expenses, Grant and his family\'s lives had become a boring routine, until the arrival of Hurricane Loren, with her Italian philosophy, her singing, and her unmistakable femininity and sex appeal (which introduces oldest son Paul Peterson to the joys of puberty, and to daughter Mimi Gibson and younger son Charles Herbert a mother-figure they both needed). Grant is at first oblivious to her charms, but she is hard to ignore for long! The question then becomes, when will Cary \'wake up\', and realize everything he needs is right on the houseboat?
Filmed after Grant and Loren\'s whirlwind affair during the filming of \'The Pride and the Passion\', the film was a bittersweet experience for both stars, particularly shooting the wedding scene, as Grant still desperately wanted to marry Loren, but she had already decided to remain with longtime love Carlo Ponti. Viewers aware of the \'behind-the-scenes\' story will appreciate the performances of the two leads even more!
After you watch \'Houseboat\', catch the flipside of this story in Grant\'s later \'Father Goose\', as a drunken reprobate with a boat who must deal with governess Leslie Caron and her charges! The two films make a fascinating double-feature, and showcases Cary Grant\'s amazing versatility!
* Original screenplay was written by Betsy Drake, Cary Grant\'s wife. Grant originally wanted it to star her but his extra-marital affair with Sophia Loren complicated the project. Drake\'s script was drastically re-written by two other writers to accommodate Loren and bears little resemblance to Drake\'s concept.