🎞 Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (RKO Radio Pictures, 1948)

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House from RKO Radio Pictures
A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country built to their specifications. It's a lot more trouble than they think. Director: H.C. Potter; Writers: Eric Hodgins (novel); Norman Panama and Melvin Frank; Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas |

It’s always fun to watch classic pictures like this one. They’re such an interesting look back on the subtleties of how the world used to be. This is a great example of when married couples had separate beds, men used shaving brushes, there were shower caps, everyone wore hats, and electric razors were becoming popular. The opening in particular has some interesting social commentary about society, class, and progressiveness. It also has commentary on advertising and people apparently becoming more open to having analysts (therapists).

This even has a snippet about current fashion in home decoration with mentions of a cobbler’s bench, a breakfront, a hooked rug, a pie cooler (whatever that is), and a Martha Washington desk.

An interesting linguistic relic I caught in the opening was a phrase that “New York has 7 millions” [referring to number of people]. Today, most would use the singular million instead.

I could easily see a case one could build for the original book and this film as the likely inspiration and precursors for comedies like The Money Pit (Universal, 1986), Funny Farm (Warner Bros., 1988), and even a bit of Baby Boom (United Artists, 1987).

I’m curious to know in how many movies Cary Grant played an advertising executive. Leading characters with this profession during this time period must have been romantic seeming at the time, but they always give an additional layer of meaning when watching them decades after the fact.

Quotes

Mr. Blandings (in his best pitch-man voice talking about his razor): “I prefer the clean sweep of the tempered steel as it glides over…”
Mrs. Blandings (curtly): “No advertising copy please.”

Bill Cole: “I had no intention of sending you to Reno.”
(At the time Reno was one of the few (only) places to grant divorces.)

Interesting tidbits of history

This was a Dory Schary presentation when he was still at RKO prior to his reign at MGM. The generally great black and white cinematography was by a mid-career prolific journeyman cinematographer James Wong Howe. This also features an appearance of Jason Robards. Robards Sr. that is, father to the more well known Jason Robards, Jr.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

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Author: Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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