Houseboat was Cary Grant's 65th full length feature film and was released on today's date back in 1958.
It was also Cary Grant's second film with Sophia Loren; the first being The Pride and The Passion (1957).
Upon the sudden death of his estranged and nearly divorced wife, absentee father Tom Winston (Cary Grant) claims ownership of his three children, seemingly more out of spite against his in-laws than out of consideration for his kids. When youngest son Robert (Charles Herbert) runs off in reaction, he's returned by spoiled brat socialite Cinzia Zaccardi (Sophia Loren), itching to escape her orchestral conductor father's dictates.
Being much a willful child herself, she harmonizes immediately with the kids and, needing a hideout, agrees to be hired on as their nanny. Finding their new house destroyed by a lustful, careless and irresponsible Italian handyman, the five decide to live on the man's neglected and dilapidated houseboat rather than rightfully sue him and take rooms at a hotel.
With Sophia Loren.
As Cinzia bridges the gap between Tom and his kids, (while starting to learn how to cook and clean), Tom's newly divorced sister-in-law Carolyn (Martha Hyer) makes a play for him. He accepts her proposal but then, as Cinzia draws men in like a dog in heat, realizes he's more interested in Cinzia. When Tom and Cynzia decide to marry, the kids hate her for it.
With Martha Hyer.
"Grant's performance is just about flawless." - Jack Moffitt, Hollywood Reporter.
"Grant is always perfectly at home in these roles in which, with an exasperated look, head tilt or dryly stated irony, he can put his point across." - Dick Williams, Mirror News (Los Angeles)
"Houseboat is the zaniest comedy, and at the same time, it is real romance. It also has in it, beautifully enunciated by Cary Grant, an essay on life and death. Mr. Grant as you know, is just about the screen's smoothest, most worldly comedian." - Ruth Waterbury, Los Angeles Examiner.
Did You Know?
Original screenplay was written by Betsy Drake, Cary Grant's wife. Grant originally wanted it to star her but his extra-marital affair with Sophia Loren complicated the project. The script was drastically re-written by two other writers to accommodate Loren and bears little resemblance to Drake's concept.
Cary Grant initially accepted his role because he was dating Sophia Loren, with whom he was madly in love. After she married Carlo Ponti, a heartbroken Grant wanted to back out. He couldn't, but the director made sure the production was a smooth one.
Cary Grant was 54 when he made this film. His romantic lead, Sophia Loren, was 24.
In the French-dubbed version of the film, a mischievous translator replaced Sophia Loren's character name, "Cinzia", with "Gina". At the time Loren and Gina Lollobrigida were rivals for the "crown" of Italian sex symbols in film.
With the children and Harry Guardino and Sophia Loren.
With Sophia Loren.
Cary Grant ... Tom Winters
Sophia Loren ... Cinzia Zaccardi
Martha Hyer ... Carolyn Gibson
Harry Guardino ... Angelo Donatello
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Arturo Zaccardi
Murray Hamilton ... Capt. Alan Wilson
Mimi Gibson ... Elizabeth Winters
Paul Petersen ... David Winters
Charles Herbert ... Robert Winters
Madge Kennedy ... Mrs. Farnsworth
John Litel ... Mr. William Farnsworth
Werner Klemperer ... Harold Messner
With Harry Guardino and Sophia Loren.
Italian lobby card and poster - "A Husband for Cinzia."
Directed by Melville Shavelson.
Distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Running time: 112 minutes.