6.7/10
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37 user 20 critic

Houseboat (1958)

Unrated | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 11 January 1959 (Japan)
A widower, his three young children, and a bombshell nanny get to know each other better when circumstances have them living together aboard a badly neglected houseboat.

Director:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cary and Sophia...in love with life, each other, and Cary's irresistible, irrepressible kids! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

11 January 1959 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Hausboot See more »

Filming Locations:

Piscataway Creek, Maryland, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Characters engage in a verbal game called "Who Sir, Me Sir." See more »

Goofs

The harmonica that Cinzia wins for Robert is labeled "ECHO". An echo harmonica has 2 reeds for each note, each reed slightly detuned sharp and flat to provide a tremolo effect. The sound when Robert is playing this instrument is of a normal harmonica. See more »

Quotes

Robert Winters: That's you, Sir.
Tom Winters: Who, Sir? Me, Sir?
Cinzia Zaccardi: Yes, Sir. You, Sir.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Song from Houseboat (Almost in Your Arms)
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Sung by Sam Cooke
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Warm, with a witty Cary Grant and stiff Sofia Loren...and a forced plot
2 May 2015 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Houseboat (1958)

It's crazy to write a review of a movie this old, with two legends, as if I have anything new to say. But that's exactly why it's worth my while. I watched it as a "Cary Grant movie" which is a category like a "Greta Garbo movie." And he's good, though there are no real sparks on screen between him and Sofia Loren, a substitute for Grant's wife of the moment, who wrote the original script. I think it ends up just a match of two screen beauties. The 1958 public liked it, at least.

It's weird how old Loren looks here—she's playing a 22 year old (she's 24 during the shoot), but her whole demeanor and hairstyle scream 30 or 40. Weird, because she's supposed to be a wild kid that her dad can't control. This matters because Grant plays an older man—an older father of three whose wife has died and who really needs a nanny. Loren's character becomes the nanny even though she's from a privileged family, mostly as an escape. Famously, Grant had been trying to woo Loren for months during their previous film, and he may or may not have gotten anywhere, but by this filming she made clear she wasn't interested, and even got married (to Carlo Ponti) while this one was being shot.

The plot is fun but the film is a bit plasticky. It's not as funny or clever as the old screwball days. Or as fast. The three kids are fine but barely—no great acting here, and no great direction either. Oh yeah, the director—Melville Shavelson—is not making the most of his material. He's more of a screenwriter (he co-wrote this) and there are some great lines. The direction is routine, however, which is a shame, because some scenes are clunky and others play out as if the script would do all the work.

Even the cinematography is merely adequate, though the sets and setting are great so you might not notice. The idea of using a houseboat (a real one in Maryland) is a great money saving device, no doubt, and it gives everything an offbeat air.

So it's all enjoyable if nothing remarkable, more or less typical of this low point in Hollywood movie-making. The best here is Grant, who still throws his classic one-liners off as if they were his. Too bad they echo out of sync with the rest of the cast.


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