- Very cute romantic comedy of the 50's. 3/4/2006 12:00:00 AM by imbluzclooby
For those who still have the hopeless romantic side to them still kindling, and for those who are not totally cynical about predictable outcomes, Houseboat is decent fun. Cary Grant repeating his romantic comedy work for the umpteenth time, works well with the ravishing and radiant Sophia Loren. Given they were thirty years apart, Grant and Loren were in a pretty heavy romance off screen at this time. Their chemistry is evident and it shows well here. Harry Gaurdino has a good and humorous supporting role. It cracks me up when movies of the 50's portrayed Italian women as fiery and impulsive. It's done that way a bit here as well with Loren, except the script offers her character a bit more warmth and depth. Hollywood stereotypes of Italians have improved until "The Sopranos" came along forty years later. Houseboat is just a cute movie that is worth watching to fill in time. And if you are a fan of either star, it will be that much better.
- Cozy romp with some surprising emotional resonance 12/31/2004 12:00:00 AM by moonspinner55
At first glance, "Houseboat" looks like the worst type of sitcom: stern father gets saddled with his estranged children, later hiring a governess who is really a runaway from high society. Saccharin-prone viewers might bail early, but give it time. Cary Grant plays the dad with an amusing mixture of concern, consternation and suspicion; he enjoys a good time, but he goads his kids into being more than what he sees, and when his son pushes back it seems an exceptionally realistic reaction. As for Sophia Loren, basking in her movie-star close-ups, she takes a cartoonish character (which is written like a cynical refugee from "Roman Holiday") and gives the lady a big heart. Her bonding with the children (and with Grant) is a treat, and while I wasn't quite convinced it would all work out happily, I was genuinely entertained. A surprising jewel. *** from ****
- "Is my mother in a museum?" 1/12/2015 12:00:00 AM by utgard14
Widowed lawyer Cary Grant hires Sophia Loren to take care of his three kids and moves them all onto a houseboat. He believes Sophia to be a maid but, in fact, she's the daughter of a famous Italian conductor. Comedy and romance ensues. Cary does well with a character that's not really likable at first. He has great chemistry with Sophia, who pretty much owns the picture. She's sexy, funny, and charming. The three kids are played by Paul Peterson (of Donna Reed Show fame), Charles Herbert (13 Ghosts, among others), and Mimi Gibson (this is probably her best role). They're all good, particularly Herbert. Love his scenes with Sophia. Harry Guardino is a treat as the guy who sells Cary the houseboat after destroying their other house. Cary's then-wife Betsy Drake was originally set to star. Their marriage was on the rocks at the time, and he was having an affair with Sophia, so she wound up with the part. It worked out best for us as it would have been a far different movie with Drake, who had a pretty bland screen presence. It's a pleasant, enjoyable mix of romantic and family comedy. Nothing unpredictable or deep but good fun.
- from a different era (sigh) 4/8/2019 12:00:00 AM by rupie
I've known of this film for years and finally decided to watch it, expecting the usual corny/glitzy rom-com. I was pleasantly surprised, and enthralled. Formulaic? Yes. Predictable? Certainly. Sentimental? Without doubt. But the story has a tenderness and charm that draws you in. Divorced-father-reconnects-with-kids a well-worn theme, but the script and acting here carry you along. The children are all good in their parts (despite the naysayers here) and of course Grant and Loren shine. The movie appeals to all the sadly outdated bourgeois values of postwar America, i.e. the era in which I grew up. And the cinematography and wide-screen aspect is wonderful. I feel a bit sad for the progressive Bolshies who find the movie offensive (check the one star reviews).
- "Hesto, Presto, One of Cary's Very Besto" 7/13/2006 12:00:00 AM by bkoganbing
Cary Grant, prominent diplomat and widower, is trying to get acquainted again with his three kids, Paul Petersen, Mimi Gibson, and Charles Herbert. He's also got a sister-in-law, Martha Hyer, crushing out on him big time.
But after the youngest kid, Herbert, wanders away after a concert, he meets Sophia Loren who is also running away from her conductor father, Eduardo Ciannelli. They are soul mates Herbert and Loren and before long she's moved in on the Grant family.
Which is forced by circumstance I won't reveal to live on a houseboat in the woods in Maryland. The Houseboat and its many problems lend itself to a whole lot of physical problems and one rather dramatic one, when one of the kids nearly drowns. Cary gets a lot of good mileage out of the comedy.
This was Cary and Sophia's second film together and it was one big improvement on the overblown Pride and the Passion. No doubt that the two of them were still involved from The Pride and the Passion lends a lot of truth in the scenes Grant and Loren play together.
Also look for a nice performance by Harry Guardino who's the one who is responsible for the group being on the Houseboat.
Houseboat is a nice family comedy and hasn't aged a bit from the Fifties when it was made.