Houseboat [VHS]
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Product Description

Cary Grant and Sophia Loren look just swell together in Houseboat, and why shouldn't they? Grant was still at his best, Loren was bewitching Hollywood as an exotic new ing¨¦nue, and offscreen they had had a torrid affair a couple of years earlier, during the shooting of The Pride and the Passion. The two tanned stars are the main attraction in this romantic comedy, which installs single dad Cary and his three children on a dilapidated houseboat on the Potomac River. Sophia is the maid, except she's not really a maid but the cultured daughter of a famous musician. Yes, this is one of those situation comedies in which every problem could be cleared up if only one character told the truth about the situation. If that sort of thing drives you crazy, best skip this one. It's no classic, but those two icons are awfully appealing. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews:

  • Cary, Sophia and 50s Fashion and Romance at its best
    Houseboat was the first movie I ever saw in a drive-in. Imagine seeing Cary Grant and Sophia Loren dancing to a Sam Cooke love song on a screen the size of a football field. The wardrobe for the movie is stunning. When did we stop taking the time to dazzle with matching hats, gloves, etc.? Obvious beauty aside, what really impressed me was the award winning script. The explanation Cary Grant gives as a parent about death, and the kids dialogue and behavior rang true. The kids behaved like any children would when one parent dies, and an absentee parent appears to take them from the safe world of their grandparents. The kids were terrific in their roles. Cary Grant and Sophia Loren were superb considering she had just dumped him to marry her current husband. One wonders what would have happened if Cary and Sophia had really married. Would they have lived happily ever after like they did in Houseboat? Who knows. At least we can have that fantasy time and time again on DVD....more info
  • Boatload of fun! (recommended)
    What more could you ask for in a movie? Are you delighted by Cary Grant's charm or Sophia Loren's beauty? Do you want to laugh, see gorgeous outfits, hear Loren sing, or root for the under[over]dog? Would you like a romantic comedy that teaches lessons in responsibility for children and parents? Move right in to HOUSEBOAT.

    I am always amazed when I see a film with a plot that casts Sophia Loren as the overlooked lover vying for a man's affection. (IT STARTED IN NAPLES; THE MILLIONAIRESS). But the notion of seeing what isn't in the eye of the beholder draws you to each film as you impatiently await the leading man to "discover" her.

    Cinzia Zaccardi (Loren) is the wealthy daughter of orchestra conductor Arturo Zaccardi (Eduard Ciannelli). As such, she is lavished in opulent dwellings and dinners with international nobles. What's missing from this overprotected woman's life is a MAN.

    Tom Winters (Grant) is a diplomat who neglected his parental responsibilities for the sake of his career. After his wife dies he gets the urge to do the right thing. The problem is, he is evidently clueless about what that is. He quickly learns that raising children is a joint responsibility. Though he hires an unlikely nanny, he feels the logical matrimonial choice is a woman who helped care for his three children before he came on the scene. His current nanny, who neither cooks nor cleans well, is good at eventually obtaining whatever she wants. After all, she's the spoiled runaway daughter of Arturo, the orchestra conductor.

    Despite the too-often sung bing-bang-bong song, HOUSEBOAT is a repeat-watch movie. My only problem is that I've seen it so many times on VHS that I would only purchase it used on DVD at a heavily discounted price just to complete my collection. (Update 9/29/06: I bought the DVD.) The movie may have a corny moment or two but it includes far more hearty laughs and great actors so I recommend it to others....more info
  • Great Romantic 50's Family Classic.
    Welcome to the Houseboat, where Cary Grant lives with his 3 children. And his lovely housekeeper/babysitter Sophia Loren. Cary Grant portrays a man, who divorced his wife, and after his wife dies. Comes back to get his kids. But his kids can't stand him at all. Well one evening he takes the kids to the opera, and his youngest child escapes. And Cinzia Zaccardi (Sophia Loren), takes him back. He tries to pay Cinzia money for rescuing his kid but she won't take it, and then he asks her if she would like to be their housekeeper but she isn't interested. But the kids won't let him get to sleep until he chooses to hire her. The next day he decides to move the country, and Cinzia comes over. And says that she would like the job. Tom Winston (Cary Grant), hires her. They then move onto a houseboat, and have lots of fun escapades. The kids are great in this movie, and Sophia Loren is a perfect mother role, and Cary Grant is the perfect romantic. As he does in all of his films. I highly suggest this movie to all. This is a excellent Family Film, that you can show to your children, without worrying about them learning anything bad, or seeing anything innapropriate....more info
  • Houseboat 1958
    This Oscar -nominated film has the legendary Cary Grant (1904-1986 ) as goverment attorney who can?t seem to shake his bad fortune . Living on a houseboat , widomed and left with three unruly children , he hires Sophia Loren (1934- ) as governess . The magnetic Loren and the Charming Grant add up to Cheeky , urbane Comedy . Wonderful movie with many outdore scenes a realy romantic and funny movie , High Quality transfer . Recommended . ...more info
  • Slight, predictable romantic comedy
    A government official (Cary Grant) tries to reconnect with his children (Mimi Gibson, Paul Petersen, and Charles Herbert) after the death of his wife. The daughter of a symphony conductor (Sophia Loren) goes on the run to escape her overbearing father (Eduardo Ciannelli) and takes a job as nanny to the children. Romantic comedy ensues.

    If there is any reason to watch this film, it is the chemistry between Grant and Loren, who had been in a real life relationship not long before filming began. The situation, however, is highly contrived and the scriptwriters (Melville Shavelson and Jack Rose) are all too willing to cast all logic aside for the sake of some rather slight gags. Characters do not behave in a consistent fashion, their personalities changing as the script requires so that the story can hit every predictable plot point on the way to its happy ending.
    ...more info
  • Houseboat sunk
    "Houseboat" never arrived here. I have been patiently waiting at the dock, but no boat. PLEASE send it at once....more info
  • Houseboat
    I loved it, the movie arrived so quickly it was awesome. It has brought back a lot of memories from my past. Thank you ...more info
  • "I hired her for my children"...."Adopt me?!"
    "With that fine Italian hand that can't cook, or sew, or even do the laundry - you've managed to put a family back together again..."

    I just recently purchased HOUSEBOAT (1958) and watched it for the first time and Cary Grant was never better than when he stars with Sophia Loren. They look made for each other! And the gorgeous can definitely tell an Edith Head design! Stunning!

    Cary Grant plays Tom Winters, a government agent, who is widowed and left to raise his three unruly kids on his own. During a concert one night, Robert (the youngest child) runs away and is found by the beautiful Cinzia Zaccardi (Sophia Loren), who is also running away from her over-bearing, over-protective Italian father. The children immediately fall in love with her and Tom hires her as the maid, but we all know she won't remain the maid for long. Not with a certain handsome man around...

    I am sure that during the wedding scene Cary Grant was wishing he was really marrying Sophia Loren. Being that he had asked her numerous times since he fell for her during "The Pride and the Passion", their first movie together. (She was 30 years his junior. During the filming of HOUSEBOAT he was 54 and she was 24)....more info
  • Nice 50s movie
    The editorial reviews pass this off as a minor film with only the two stars - Cary Grant and Sophia Loren - making it worth your time. They are both great but this film has a little more going for it. Cary Grant is beyond the years when he would stand in the background and steal scenes with facial gestures, here he is well into his Hitchcock years. The 50s was a time of sophistication and pure charm for Cary and Sophia Loren was every thirteen year old boys fantasy.

    The story is okay in that you know it will end with Cary and Sophia in each other's arms and everybody happy. But that's what a romantic comedy is and if you enjoy romantic comedies you will not be disappointed. Cary is taking on the responsibility of raising his three children alone on a houseboat and Sophia, running away from her famous orchestra conductor father, is the maid. The Maid! Can imagine Sophia as your maid? Or anybody's maid? Through kid problems, arguments, boyfriends, ups and downs, and country club dances it all ends well. It is the two stars that are the attraction here certainly, but wait; there's more. The film would remain a 3 star middle of the road film if it were not for the nice comedic bit by Harry Guardino and a great score. The score is not on a par with Doctor Zhivago by any means but it fits the film nicely and the lead song by Sam Cooke - Almost In Your Arms - is terrific. I bumped the film up a star for Harry Guardino and Sam Cooke's song....more info

  • Loren and Grant
    This is a very cute movie!

    Sophia Loren is just fantastic!!
    Cary Grant is great in a subtle way. He progresses throughout the movie in a nuanced manner.
    They both have great chemistry!

    Mimi Gibson, Paul Petersen (of Mouseketeer and Donna Reed fame) and
    Charles Herbert all put in great performances as the children.

    There is even a minor supporting roles by Murray Hamilton as Grant's cheeky friend and Loren's father's manager, played by the very comic Werner Klemperer (Col. Klink). And, Harry Guardino who plays the ethnic Italian almost suiter, Angelo Donatello, was nominated for Golden Globe. The picture was nominated for two Academy's - Best Original Song ("Almost in Your Arms") and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay. The movie and Grant did win two Golden Laurel Awards for Top Comedy and Top Male Comedy Performance.

    Mel Shavelson, who did a lot of romantic pictures like "April in Paris" and "Yours, Mine and Ours", did a great job pooling the acting team together in an innocent comedy that works the way they should - and that is not easy.

    Loren get's Americanized while she teaches Grant to grow up. It has what is missing in contemporary chick flicks.

    See this - you won't be disappointed!...more info
  • Thanks
    Everything that they said was true!! Thanks very much
    Robert...more info
  • Charming, fun, suitable for any age...
    What's not to like? It has Cary Grant and Sophia Loren (both looking as gorgeous as ever), and even some child actors who can actually act. There's a charming plot, plenty of subtle romance, and lots of genuine emotion. You may even end up humming a ditty or two afterward.

    Buy it, watch it, and be glad that you don't have to wonder if it's suitable for your entire family....more info
  • Cary and Sophia-- Visual Ambrosia!
    I am a die hard Cary Grant fan. I own 27 of his movies! Houseboat is probably one of my favorite Cary Grant comedies. The chemistry between Grant and Loren is magic. Sohia was never more beautiful and Cary was his usual handsome best. This is a must have for any Cary Grant movie collector.

    Willie in Maryland....more info
  • Romance on the river
    The Houseboat is a very romantic, light-hearted movie. It is a little gem with Cary Grant playing his usual role of a debonaire bachelor with a little twist - this time he's a widower, a single father of three young children who suddenly decides that the children have to live with him. Suffice it to say that he's had very little previous experience raising his kids - and it shows! Another improbable twist - enter the rebellious daughter of an Italian music conductor as a nanny (a very young and very exotic Sophia Loren) - and the fun begins. The family and the nanny are planning to move to a guest house not far from the family of his late wife, but they need to relocate it to another place nearby and the guest house is getting ruined in the process. The houseboat is offered as a replacement and here they start a new life - simple, with very little amenities, but full of fun, love and occasional soul-searching. Cary Grant plays the role with his usual flair, but I thought I've seen a milder and gentler side of him in his interactions with the kids. Sophia Loren was rather exquisite in appearance and a bit too headstrong for the role of a nanny, but then she was a spoiled daughter of a famous father in the movie, so her sometimes odd behavior does not really feel entirely unnatural. The kids were great. Their feelings are always on the surface, played very naturally, and that adds enormously to the movie's emotional charge. The DVD is not much, but it's OK - it is in color, in mono sound, the additional features are very limited - only a couple of trailers and a rather nice photo gallery - but I did not expect much from a DVD with a 1958 movie, I wanted it for a movie itself and I thoroughly enjoyed it....more info
  • Amazon DVD purchase - Houseboat
    This DVD I ordered was a present for my mother-in-law who loves these old movies. I searched Amazon for the availability and price. Amazon had a good price for this dvd which was new and unused. The original shipment was lost. After more than a month, I called the customer service and they sent me another shipment that I received after 2 days. The condition of the dvd was as stated on the website. My mother-in-law was really happy receiving her present, even though it was late....more info
  • Warm Family Comedy With A Perfectly Cast Cary And Sophia
    This charming little domestic comedy which really can be seen as a forerunner to the situation comedies of the 1960's, is given its memorable quality by the unexpectedly wonderful teaming of screen legends Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. By 1958 Grant was just entering the final period of his legendary career that would see him retire forever from movie making in 1966 with his debonair image still intact after almost four decades of continuous film work. Sophia Loren at this time was still largely considered an exotic recent import to Hollywood from Europe and had just completed a series of Hollywood efforts that teamed her with the likes of John Wayne, Alan Ladd and William Holden. The pair had teamed two years previously in the epic "The Pride and the Passion", also starring Frank Sinatra, however it was in this funny, and at times quite touching family story that their real chemistry on screen was properly displayed. Sophia Loren had probably her most successful Hollywood film up to this time with "Houseboat", and the ageless Cary Grant was in the middle of his highly successful collaborations in a series of glossy thrillers with director Alfred Hitchcock which certainly helped the box office of this very different type of story. Despite their different screen personas Grant and Loren are a delight together on screen when dealing with diverse situations involving three unruly children and an oversized decaying houseboat which almost becomes a character in itself in the story and is the main setting for the comic situations that arise.

    Cary Grant plays Tom Winters a debonair Washington business man used to the single life with lots of travel after his marriage breakup. When his former wife is killed in a car accident Tom suddenly finds himself gaining custody of their three children that had formerly been under the care of his former sister in law Carolyn (Martha Hyer). Taking the children away when his wife's family try to keep hold of the children Tom has a dilemma about where his new little family are to live and he finds that his bachelor quarters in Washington are no substitute for a real home. The children at first dont like him and want to be back with Aunt Carolyn and when youngest son Robert (Charles Herbert), runs away he is eventually brought home by beautiful Cinzia Zaccardi (Sophia Loren), who is also in the process of running away from her domineering father Arthuro Zaccardi (Eduardo Ciannelli ), who is a famous orchestra conductor. Because she has a great rapport with the children and they seem to instantly like her Tom offers the supposedly homeless Cinzia a job as combined maid, cook and cleaner for the family. Tom sets out to find a new home and comes across a dilapidated old houseboat which he thinks could be turned into the ideal family home. His idea of domestic bliss however is short lived when he finds out that not only can Cinzia not cook, do laundry or clean house, but that he is also falling in love with her. This creates a further complication for Tom in that he is developing a romance with Carolyn and she and her friends look down unkindly on Tom's having the beautiful Italian woman around the houseboat. After eldest son David (Paul Peterson), almost drowns in an over turned small boat and Carolyn and her friends attempt to embarrass Cinzia just prior to a Fourth of July party at the neighbouring Country Club, Tom realises where his real future lies and proposes marriage. However at this eleventh hour the children have a bad reaction to the lady they have loved over the last few months fearing that Cinzia is trying to take their dead mother's place and even as the wedding is starting on the top deck of the houseboat the children refuse to attend the ceremony. However all such stories have a happy ending and before the preacher can declare Tom and Cinzia man and wife the three children going through a rapid change of heart appear fully dressed behind the couple and Robert even ends up serenading the couple on his harmonica.

    Oddly enough I find a lot of similiarities between the general story of "Houseboat", and that of the more famous "The Sound of Music", in that a nanny comes into a disfunctional family and not only reunites its members but marries the head of the house. Sophia Loren although widely praised in her initial Hollywood efforts despite their lack of box office success, really began showing her potential in this effort where she was required to be more than decorative and show plenty of cleavage. She displays a fine comic style and she works very well with Cary Grant's laid back and totally charming acting delivery. She has many pleasing moments such as when she accidently (on purpose), sprays Cary Grant with paint during the houseboat's renovation and her love/hate scenes with him sparkle brightly enough even in the more unlikely moments. Cary Grant had this type of "charming man of the world suddenly thrown into a dilemma type" of character down pat by 1958 and he does very well as the comfortable bachelor suddenly having to deal with three children, a leaky houseboat, and a very beautiful Italian maid who can't cook or keep house. The three children in the story are what would be called "typical sitcom children", during the next decade but they are pleasing in their performances as well and at times have a maturity about their acting especially in the scenes when they reject Cinzia near the conclusion for supposedly attempting to take the place of their own mother. Paul Peterson as eldest son David would end up winning fame of his own as the son on the long running "The Donna Reed Show", which began it's network run the same year that "Houseboat", was released. The whole film certainly has the feel of a situation comedy about it and it constantly amazes me that the basic premise of this story in "Houseboat", was never used for an ongoing comedy series during the 1960's when this type of story was commonplace. Certainly Paramount regarded this vehicle as one of their bigger efforts for 1958 filming it in glorious Vista Vision and giving it glowing colour photography that gives the story an extremely lush look and feel. The beautiful renovated houseboat of the title seems to simply rise out of its earlier decaying, undesirable state and is something which only Hollywood in the 1950's could have thought up as the "central character", of a story such as this. Veteran clothes designer Edith Head, long a Paramount legend with her incredible clothes designs over forty years for all of the Paramount stars also excels in her designs here and Sophia Loren really came into her own in the glamour stakes with the lavish and highly flattering clothes made for her by Edith Head in this picture.

    Good nostalgic fun from a simpler time is how best to describe "Houseboat". Not the funniest comedy from the 1950's for sure but it's highly enjoyable on a different level as a sort of time capsule for how Hollywood used to make comedies. Seeing Cary Grant and Sophia Loren together in one of their only two movie teamings is also a special treat and they really display what old Hollywood star power was all about. Happily "Houseboat", has been given a really beautiful treatment for it's release onto DVD and I highly recommend this charming little domestic comedy for all lovers of older style family movies where all members of the family learn from their experiences and develop a greater love for each other in the process. Enjoy! ...more info
  • a family classic
    HOUSEBOAT is one of my favorite movies. I remember my family taping it when I was about 7, and I loved watching it. Needless to say, when the new DVD version was released I instantly snapped it up!

    The story is about a widowed Government official (Cary Grant) and his three unruly children. A chance meeting throws the beautiful Cinzia Zaccardi (lovely Sophia Loren) into their lives. Cinzia is the daughter of a prominent classical conductor, and is looking for a change of scene. When she decides to become the children's nanny, no-one is prepared for the hilarity and heartache that is to follow...

    This is indeed a lovely family film, with a few shades of "The Sound of Music". The new DVD version offers an average-looking transfer of the film, with a photo gallery and two trailers as the extras.

    Also starring Martha Hyer, Harry Guardino, Paul Petersen and Eduardo Cinanelli. (Single-sided, dual-layer disc)....more info

  • Cute!
    This movie is very cute! It's interesting to see the debonaire (sp?) Carey Grant playing a dad of some spoiled kids. He does a great job, though and he and Sophia Loren make a cute, if not unusal couple)...more info
  • When it was enough for a movie simply to entertain...
    Charming is the word that best describes this movie--two charming stars and three charming children act out a charming story in a charming landscape. Although probably not "great cinema" by anyone's standard, it provides for me a welcome 2-hour escape from the stresses of modern life. In this fantasy world, you never doubt that Sophia Loren's "fine Italian hand that can't cook, clean, or do the laundry" will put everything right and that everyone will live happily ever after.

    Whenever I hear an ad for a modern movie that claims it will "change my life", I want to pull out an old movie like this whose ambition was simply to entertain....more info

  • Fun for everyone....
    The movie is fun and the DVD quality is very good for the price. ...more info
  • Old-fashioned Fun
    Houseboat takes me back to the old days of glorious movie entertainment. Sofia Loren and Cary Grant are such an unlikely pair, yet they strike sparks on the screen. Add delightful children and a luscious setting, and you have a movie you can watch with the entire family. A romance that makes you smile....more info
  • Unwatchable
    This is one of those films that are made to capitalize on star power, get quick results at the box office, and then disappear into the land of forgotten films.

    About a half hour into this debacle, which featured whiny children, predictable plotting, and overall lack of likable (or believable) characters, I was forced to just turn it off....more info

  • Inanely insipid
    Cary Grant and Sophia Loren performed their parts flawlessly. The plot, the props, the music, the lines were hopeless. Are we supposed to believe a foreign service officer would take his small children to a symphony concert? That the grown daughter of a world class conductor would sing the Bing-Bang-Bong song during the orchestra's performance? or any other time, for that matter? That Sophia professionally repaired and painted that houseboat all by herself in a couple of days while Cary was at the office? That a pitcher of water would be handy on the table on the porch just when necessary to use it to illustrate a moral principle? I'm not incapable of suspending belief, if only there's compensation for it. I only watched to the end because I was making out with my girlfriend during the movie. I'd have been better off watching "Godzilla 1985"....more info
  • Amusing!
    Ok so maybe this isn't Cary Grant's funniest comedy but I still enjoyed it and found things to laugh at, it is a sweet movie about a handsome widow with mischievous children who meets a beautiful Italian woman who agrees to be nanny to his children and kind of a housekeeper though she at first is not very good at cleaning and cooking and he doesn't agree with her views about taking care of children and vise versa. Cary Grant and Sophia Loren are both very good but so are the kids especially Paul Petersen from The Donna Reed Show (I used to watch reruns of that show on Nick at Nite). I highly recommend this charming movie! I used to have this movie on video but the tape was old and worn out so I will have to think about getting the the widescreen DVD....more info
  • Charming, Family-Friendly Comedy!
    'Houseboat' is a throwback to the kind of sweet, happy comedies Cary Grant did in the late '40s-early '50s, and it foreshadows the domestic comedies James Stewart and Henry Fonda would do in the sixties. Granted, there is more romance (and with Sophia Loren as the objection of affection, Cary has it all OVER Jimmy and Hank!) but ultimately, it scores as a terrific family movie, as Loren, playing an inept but adorable housekeeper/nanny, wins the affection of widower Grant's kids, and awakens in him a more complete love than he was experiencing with his society girlfriend (played effectively by the beautiful Martha Hyer).

    Living in a rundown houseboat to save on expenses, Grant and family lives had become a boring routine, until the arrival of Hurricane Loren, with her Italian philosophy, her singing, and her unmistakable femininity and sex appeal (which introduces oldest son Paul Peterson to the joys of puberty, and to daughter Mimi Gibson and younger son Charles Herbert a mother-figure they both needed). Grant is at first oblivious to her charms, but she is hard to ignore for long! The question then becomes, when will Cary 'wake up', and realize everything he needs is right on the houseboat?

    Filmed after Grant and Loren's whirlwind affair during the filming of 'The Pride and the Passion', the film was a bittersweet experience for both stars, particularly shooting the wedding scene, as Grant still desperately wanted to marry Loren, but she had already decided to remain with longtime love Carlo Ponti. Viewers aware of the 'behind-the-scenes' story will appreciate the performances of the two leads even more!

    After you watch 'Houseboat', catch the flipside of this story in Grant's later 'Father Goose', as a drunken reprobate with a boat who must deal with governess Leslie Caron and her charges! The two films make a fascinating double-feature, and showcases Cary Grant's amazing versatility!

    Seen either way, 'Houseboat' is a delight!...more info