Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

Directed by H.C. Potter

Much as I like Cary Grant, he made a lot of movies and they aren’t all gems. Sometimes the numbers catch up to him and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is one of those times.

An agreeable, somewhat amusing movie, overall it’s a bit bland and a little too anachronistic. Released in 1948, it is very much rooted in that era and many of the jokes are dependent on the period.

A middle-class advertising man living in New York and supporting a wife and two daughters, Mr. Blandings and his family live in a cramped high rise apartment.

The movie takes great pains to communicate this in the first part of the movie with numerous scenes of Grant battling the clutter and confusion of close quarters.

Cary Grant and Myrna Loy are the Blandings.

To be fair, Grant is at his comedic best in these scenes but there is little supporting him. His co-star, Myrna Loy, is also good but she has little to work with.

The first third of the movie largely depends on Cary Grant to carry it.

Eventually the Blandings decide they have to find a house. In fact, Mrs. Blandings already has some plans in the works.

But once Mr. Blandings gets it in his head that a house is what is needed, he goes out and buys the first one a smooth operating real estate agent presents to him.

Thinking he has landed a great real estate deal, Mr. Blandings has actually bought an overpriced, run down house in Connecticut.

It turns out the house is so unfit, it needs to be torn down and a new one built. The movie takes Grant and Loy through the problems and headaches of building a new home.

Muriel and Jim Blandings (Myrna Loy and Cary Grant) and Bill Cole (Melvyn Douglas) discuss the house.

One disaster follows upon another and the costs climb.

While there is humour in a number of the scenes, it’s by and large only mildly funny and often a bit forced.

With the exception of Melvyn Douglas as the Blandings friend and voice of reason (and very dry delivery which is often perfect), there isn’t much of a supporting cast helping out in the movie.

This has less to do with the actors than the script, which is very uninspired.

So Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is a little bit pleasant and a little bit bland; a little bit funny and a little bit dull.

Were Cary Grant not in it, I think it would be even duller and for the most part, unmemorable. It’s not that it’s a particularly bad movie, it’s just not particularly good.


You may want to take a look at a few other reviews of this movie. I seem to be alone in my opinion. Maybe because I’ve never been involved in buying a house. Or maybe I was in the wrong mood when I watched the movie. So I’ll give it a second chance sometime and maybe update my review.

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