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Houseboat (1958)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 5,080 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 18 critic

Tom Winters, 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... See full summary »

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Title: Houseboat (1958)

Houseboat (1958) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Eduardo Ciannelli ...
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Mimi Gibson ...
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Charles Herbert ...
Madge Kennedy ...
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Mr. William Farnsworth
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Harold Messner
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peggy Connelly ...
Elizabeth Wilson (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Tom Winters, 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. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

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Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

19 November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hausboot  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

Tom's apartment is in Washington, D.C., but when he's shown driving his kids to the concert at the Watergate, he approaches the area from the Virginia side of the Memorial Bridge, the opposite direction from which he should logically have been coming. See more »

Quotes

Tom: [after yelling at his son] Now where were we?
Cinzia Zaccardi: [She turns on the spray paint and sprays him in the face on purpose] Oops.
Tom: Thank you, Michelagelo.
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Connections

Featured in American Masters: Cary Grant: A Class Apart (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 4 in A-Major op. 90 (Italian Symphony)
(uncredited)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
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User Reviews

 
Ahoy there Cary and Sophia.
20 October 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Houseboat is directed by Melville Shavelson who also co-writes the screenplay with Jack Rose. It stars Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Martha Hyer, Paul Petersen, Charles Herbert, Harry Guardino and Mimi Gibson. A Vista Vision production in Technicolor, music is by George Duning and cinematography by Ray June.

Widower Tom Winters (Grant) is reunited with his three estranged young children and finds they don't particularly think too highly of him. Struggling to pay them due care and attention and commit to his work, salvation may come in the guise of Cinzia Zaccardi (Loren), the daughter of a famous Italian conductor whose firm hand at parenting has led to Cinzia running away. Even though she has no discernible skills for the job, Tom hires Cinzia to be the maid to the Winters family, which once they wind up living on a rickety houseboat, has life affirming consequences for all of them.

Family drama, a romantic comedy, a 54 year old Cary Grant as the romantic lead opposite a 24 year old Sophia Loren as the prime love interest. Behind the scenes sparks as Grant yearns deeply to be Loren's better half, to which she responds by marrying Carlo Ponti, while Grant's then wife, Betsy Drake, gets passed over for the role given to Loren in a film based on an original script that she wrote herself! All that and the film leans heavily on three moppet characters. Had to be a miserable failure, surely?

Thankfully no. Houseboat is an utterly delightful picture, a throwback to time when Hollywood knew how to produce charming family friendly movies. Propelled by Grant, the man who could find chemistry with a door, the pic may not hold any surprise with its outcome, but the comedy is strong throughout and the family values inherent are rich with their story telling rewards. There's the odd musical interlude to tap your feet along with as well.

With Grant showing more comic ability with just facial expressions than many of today's comedy actors can provide in an hour of film, Houseboat is very much essential viewing for the Grant purists. True, Loren is hardly providing any acting gravitas here, but by the time she wanders into view looking absolutely knockout in a gold dress, nothing else really matters! Bonus, too, is the child actors, wonderfully directed by Shavelson, there's no irritants here, just honest and engaging reactions to scenes and scripting that stop the formula becoming stagnant, while Guardino shines bright as a commitment phobic Lothario.

Delightfully warm as a rom-com, but not ignorant to the trials and tribulations of a family coming to terms with a big change, Houseboat is always on safe entertainment waters. 7.5/10


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