'Houseboat' On The Houseboat

Grant's 1958 classic still inspires

Published online: Jun 21, 2006 News
Viewed 301 time(s)

With the recent passing of Father's Day, here is a belated suggestion for houseboating families everywhere-rent the movie "Houseboat," starring Carey Grant and Sophia Loren. It is the quintessential family movie of adventures in parenting and of the healing process after the loss of a loved one. It is heartwarming, funny and tender all in one tale.

The best place to get the skinny on this 1958 flick is www.carygrant.net. The movie is best described here by Helen Fredericks, who offered this well-rounded summary of the story:
Tom Winston (Cary Grant) is a government worker, whose job has kept him away from his family for long periods at a time. When his wife dies suddenly, he is faced with the fact that he and his three children are strangers. Although, Tom knows nothing of being a Father or how to help his children through the loss of their Mother, he decides that he must try."Houseboat" is this story.

When he first takes custody of his children, David (Paul Peterson) the oldest son who has a tendency to steal, Elizabeth (Mimi Gibson) the daughter who tries to be brave through thunderstorms and Robert (Charles Herbert) the youngest, who withdraws after his mother's death, he takes them to his apartment in Washington, DC. There he finds he is ill-equipped for the job of fatherhood.

After a day of showing the kids around the Capital, he takes them to a concert. This is where Robert runs away and meets up with Cinzia (Sophia Loren). Cinzia, the daughter of Aruto Zaccardi (Eduardo Ciannelli) a famous conductor, is tired of meeting "all the right people!"  After a fight with her Father, she runs away and befriends Robert!

When Cinzia brings Robert home, Robert begs his Dad to hire Cinzia as a maid. Tom assumes she is a 'lady of the night' and not really maid material. But to please his children, he offers her the job and is surprised when she returns the next day, all cleaned-up to accept the offer.

They move to the country, to a house that while being moved to the new lot, is destroyed by a train. They end up in a broken down, old houseboat. This is when Tom finds out that Cinzia does not know how to cook, clean or even do laundry. What she does know how to do, is to heal this family and put them back together with love. Along the line Cinzia and Tom fall in love.

As they create a home out of the Houseboat, they recreate the family. One of the best scenes in the movie is one where Tom and David have a talk about death and why everything must die. Tom explains that nothing really ever dies, it just changes and becomes part of the world around us.

For the full review (and still pictures to boot) log onto www.carygrant.net.

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