Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Director: H. C. Potter
Year Released: 1948
Rating: 2.0

I typically try to take classic films for what they're worth, and pass over the inherent "good naturedness" which was typical of films of the era as being irrelevant to the picture (by "good naturedness," I am referring to the "dream world" in which they are locked; all "troubles" seem to be dealt with so innocently and with such glee). But with Mr. Blandings, the Leave It to Beaver wholesomeness really got to me: had I not seen Potter's name in the credits I would have assumed Frank Capra made it. As 'comedy' it is not funny in the least, or if I might say so, the humor is as dry and harmless as a pile of sand. The story - married sophisticates Mr. and Mrs. Blandings (Cary Grant and Myrna Loy) seek to buy a new home, but due to their naiveté get snookered by a real estate shyster and end up purchasing a wreck, so they have to level it and rebuild, etc, and learn a very important lesson: getting your own home can be a catastrophe. There are your standard subplots: Blandings' trouble at work to come up with a new slogan for "Wham," a Spam-like ham product (but don't worry: the African-American slave/maid's awful English saves the day!) and the presence of a third party (Melvyn Douglas) to create a potential love triangle and give Mr. Blandings the fits. Loy's performance is particularly maddening - her unshakable smugness made me hope for a plank to fall on her head. Gotta love Blandings' daughters, too: they're only 13 and already Socialists! Isn't that swell?