Monday, February 9, 2015

Movie Matinee Monday: Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

I'm very happy to say that after practically deserting Pure Golden for months, I am back!  I'm in the midst of re-designing the blog.  The only thing I can't decide on is whether or not I should change the header.  If I could have a few opinions on that, I'd really appreciate it. :-).  I also feel like a total numbskull here, but if someone could inform me how to center my images in a post, I'd appreciate that too.  In this post, all the images are set on center, but as you can see, they are not centered.  I set all of the section titles on center too...but after half of them obeyed.  I don't know why Blogger hates me.  But I hope it doesn't hurt your eyes too much. ;-)

I have a few weekly series planned, including the one you'll start reading in a moment: Movie Matinee Monday.  It will be a review of a classic film, along with photographs and other tidbits of info.  I have at least one other weekly series planned, which will most likely start next week.  Other than the weekly series, I also will do a classic Hollywood related post every week.


My opinions on the poster:
It's fun, and I like the different construction items that are integrated into the poster.  I can't help but think that Mr. Grant looks a bit annoyed....maybe he's supposed to?  I don't feel the poster Myrna Loy looks much like her; her eyebrows are too curved, I think.

The stars:
Cary Grant – as Mr. Jim Blandings
Myrna Loy – as Mrs. Muriel Blandings
Melvyn Douglas – as Mr. Bill Cole

The synopsis:
When advertising executive Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) discovers his wife's (Myrna Loy) plan to redecorate their New York apartment, he counters with a proposal that they move to Connecticut. She agrees, and the two are soon conned into buying a house that turns out to be a complete nightmare. Construction and repair bills accumulate quickly, and Jim worries that their future hangs in the balance unless he can come up with a catchy new jingle that will sell ham.  [Synopsis courtesy of Google]

The critic's opinions:
4/5 stars
This is a very lighthearted, entertaining film, based on the novel of the same name that was published in 1946.  I love movies like this with family/life events, such as building a house or a wedding, such as Father of the Bride (1950).  Somehow they seem very realistic. However, I feel that this one in particular is a cautionary film, warning us to look out for hidden fees in house-building!!  Anyways, Mr. and Mrs. Blandings' dream house turns out to be a total nightmare, from a closet that persists in locking people in, to the flower sink floor that cost $1,250!!!  (And that's in 1948, mind you.) The film is actually quite well-known, and a remake was even made in the 1990s. There is no mistaking the film as a comedy.  It is not slapstick, though, but the kind of comedy that happens in everyday life, and the characters involved keep a straight face.  It has a witty and hilarious script that makes me smile every time I watch it.

Cary Grant is great as the impulsive, loving, and slightly proud Mr. Blandings.  The expressions that Mr. Grant is able to make for the role are perfect, from his exasperated look at the man digging the well, to the jealous look at the 'old family friend'.  Although the film is fairly popular, it isn't one of the roles that would 'come to mind' when you mention him, especially not to a person unfamiliar with Old Hollywood.  I always felt that such roles were Arsenic and Old Lace or Bringing Up Baby.

The film isn't one of Myrna Loy's better known roles either, as she is better known for her starring role in The Thin Man series of movies.  Despite that, this is the film that clinched her place as one of my favorite classic actresses.  She has a soft way of speaking, and is incredibly convincing as Mrs. Blandings.  I don't know how to explain it, but she actually 'became' that role.  It's lovely and amazing, and I love it.  She's still a typical woman in classic Hollywood films though, fussing about her clothes and her flower sink, and insisting ever bedroom has two closets.  I adore her character.

Melvyn Douglas plays the 'old family friend', Bill Cole.  Apparently, Mrs. Blandings used to date him in college, and that doesn't go over well with Mr. Blandings!!  It's funny; sometimes Cole is a likable character in the film, and other times he drives me crazy.  He delivers a lot of snarky lines, which are sometimes hilarious, and other times you want to give him a punch in the nose.  He adds a lot to the picture, though, as a three-dimensional character.  And, some of his snarky lines are good for laughs.

The bottom line:
A very entertaining family film with two big stars in the billing.  Do not miss it.

My favorite film moments {I try to be spoiler-free}:
When Muriel is trying to explain to the painters what colors she wants.  "No, not the yellow dot by the hollyhock bush.  The little blue dot over there.  Yes, exactly that color."

Dicussing the difference between a rock, ledge, and a boulder.

Going around in circles while driving, and always coming back to the same bridge.



Movie trailer:


Phyl said...

This is one of my favorite movies! I love old movie house. My favorite scene is when they are adding all those extras on to the basic houseplan. It always makes me want to pull out all of my old houseplans and draw on them!

Phyl said...

That's weird about your photos not centering. Mine automatically center...though one time I had to re-log in every time I wanted to add multiple photos to a post. It will probably fix itself soon. I really like your blog header! I'm still struggling with mine...


Pure Golden said...

I know, isn't it a great movie? :-). I did love that scene too; both of them want completely different things on the houseplan!!!

I know, I though the photos were supposed to automatically center too...but since blogger apparently has something against me, I went into the html and fixed it there. ;-). I tried it out on the new Movie Matinee Monday post; could you let me know if they are centered with you?
Thank you; I'm glad you like it! :-). I'd be glad to help you with yours if you'd like; just email me at if you want me to.

Thank you so much for commenting, Phyl!!