Mr Hobbs longs for a vacation alone with his wife, away from his long commute into work and his disfunctional family. His wife longs for a family get-together. Of course the wife wins and off to the beach with the family they go.
James Stewart ... Roger Hobbs
Maureen O'Hara ... Peggy Hobbs
Fabian ... Joe
John Saxon ... Byron
Marie Wilson ... Mrs. Emily Turner
Reginald Gardiner ... Reggie McHugh
Lauri Peters ... Katey Hobbs
Valerie Varda ... Marika
Lili Gentle ... Janie
John McGiver ... Mr. Martin Turner
Natalie Trundy ... Susan
Josh Peine ... Stan
Director: Henry Koster
Runtime: 116 mins
Codecs: DivX 5 / MP3
"Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation" is one of the most enjoyable family films ever made. When it was released back in 1962, it was a big hit. But if you are a sophisticate, don't write it off just yet.
The plot is simple: Harried St. Louis banker Roger Hobbs (James Stewart) is looking forward to a quiet, romantic vacation with his wife Peggy (Maureen O'Hara) who, unknown to him, has instead opted for a family reunion in a rented Northern California beach house. Not only has she included her teenage daughter Katie and younger son Danny but her married daughters and their families as well.
The beach house turns out to be a monstrosity which Hobbs describes as "Dragonwyck". When their daughter Susan and her husband Stan show up with their bratty kids, things quickly get worse. The family is complete when daughter Jane and her husband Byron arrive with their infant daughter. By now, both Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs are somewhat disenchanted with this "family reunion" as Susan and her husband fight until he walks out on them, while Jane's husband takes up with the local bathing suit-clad vamp Manika. Daughter Katie meanwhile, grows more sullen by the day, sulking because of her new braces and brother Danny simply glues himself to the television set.
Add an unhappy Finnish maid and you really have a recipe for disaster. But thanks to the delightful performance by Stewart, the laughs come thick and fast. His dry wit enlivens the film and almost single-handedly keeps it alive. And I mean alive because in spite of a capable cast including Fabian, John McGiver and Marie Wilson, the film belongs to Stewart. He does wonders with his hapless father role and keeps the audience in his corner every second. With the support of the eternally beautiful O'Hara (who's hardly anyones idea of a grandmother) and a memorable Henry Mancini score, "Mr. Hobbs" may depict a harrowing "vacation" but it's one the the viewer will thoroughly enjoy taking.
Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation is delightful from beginning to end. It's a vacation none of us would mind taking. Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs are somewhat "with it" parents, with a child in each generation, young and old, each with their own problems. They grow up so quickly. Mrs. Hobbs uses the excuse of a summer vacation, in a shack of a shore house, to bring them all closer together before their individual roads (which they are already traveling) lead them further away from "home".
The rental home is a shambles and the "family" doesn't cooperate with "the plan". Leave it to the "deadpan" Stewart, problem solver and loving dad, to close the gap with each child (and their own broods), and re-unite them all back into one big, happy family.
Stewart plays the most unimportant member of the family, DAD, for all it's worth. Nicknamed "Boom-pa" ("Boom-pa, couldn't you do better for your old man?" jokingly(?) insulted) by one of his grandchildren, bird watching with John McGiver ("What kind of bird is that?"..always a "Barn Swallow"), and playing with his temperamental Rube Goldberg water pump, Stewart is the centerpiece to this amusing and warm film. (Maureen plays a really sexy grandma too...)
This is a very nice movie, but it could have been more. The scenes between Stewart and O'Hara are some of the best (and funniest) scenes I've ever seen portraying and affectionate, mature married couple. One of my favorite moments is when Mrs. Hobbs asks her husband, "What did you tell him I had, dementia praecox?" You don't get dialogue and delivery like that anymore...
The thing that mars the movie is that either the people making the movie didn't realize how wonderful the scenes between O'Hara and Stewart were, or they worried about some stupid demographic junk and silted the movie up with "youth appeal". Most of the scenes with the teenage daughter could have been cut, especially the awful scene where Fabian sings, and the sequence where he goes sailing with his son should have been tightened.
But the scenes with the two parents (especially the ones in the bedroom where they discuss their sons-in-law and the house), and Stewart's occasional morbid fantasies make this movie a winner. I think with a little more care it could have been a classic, but it's well worth seeing, and you can fast-forward over the scene at the pizza shop where Fabian sings.
# Cameo: [Herb Alpert] trumpet player at the yacht club.
# The station wagon used in the film is a 1960 Dodge Seneca.
# The portrait hanging along the staircase of the beach cottage is of Captain Daniel Gregg, played by Rex Harrison, from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947).