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Monday, June 6, 2011

Movie of the Week... Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

Who doesn't want to be Cary Grant?  Why, Cary Grant himself famously stated that, "Even I want to be Cary Grant!"  Take Cary Grant and add Myrna Loy, and you can't possibly go wrong.  The two appeared in two marvellously charming films in the late 1940's, "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" and "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House".  In both cases, the pairing couldn't have been more delightful.

When thinking of a movie to highlight today, it didn't take long to decide on "Mr. Blandings".  Not only is it one of our all time favorites, but the two principals fit our title perfectly.  If Cary Grant isn't dapper and if Myrna Loy isn't dreamy, I don't know who is.

The costumes and settings for the film also happen to fit our idea of comfortable style from start to finish.  The Blandings are, in the words of their would-be decorator Bunny Funkhauser (he wears sandals!), "As American as blueberry pie."  Mrs. Blanding's aims for comfort and functionality, but as this clip shows, she knows exactly what she wants!

The whole cast of "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" delivers excellent performances.  Louise Beavers as Gussie gives Blandings' a career-saving slogan that will live forever in the minds of this movie's fans - "If you ain't eatin' Wham, you ain't eatin' ham!", and Melvyn Douglas is the ideal best-friend and advisor, except for the fact that he was once the beau of Mrs. Blandings.  The children are perfectly precocious and the supporting cast of builders, architects and locals add delicious color to the whole affair.

Like so many other fantastic films, "Blandings" is based on an ever better book.  Eric Hodgins wrote two Blandings books based loosely on his own experiences in trying to build a house in New Milford, Connecticut.  Both "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" and "Blandings Way" are available online.  I can't recommend them highly enough.

I love everything about this movie and, if you haven't already seen it, you will too.  If you're already a fan of the Blandings, it's time to drop in for a visit!

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