Thursday, March 25, 2021

On This Day...Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948).

Cary Grant's 52nd film and his third film with Myrna Loy was Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House. The film was released on this date in 1948.


In Manhattan, the American middle class Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) lives with his wife Muriel (Myrna Loy) and two teenage daughters in a four bedroom and one bathroom only leased apartment. 

Jim works in an advertising agency raising US$ 15,000.00 a year and feels uncomfortable in his apartment due to the lack of space. 

When he sees an advertisement for a huge house for sale in the countryside of Connecticut for an affordable price, he drives with his wife and the real estate agent and decides to buy the old house without any technical advice. 

A family friend, lawyer Bill Cole, sends an acquaintance engineer to inspect the house, and the man tells him that he should knock down the house and build another one. 

Jim checks the information with other engineers and all of them condemn the place.  Soon he finds that he bought a "money pit" instead of a dream house.

"Cary Grant giving one of his best portrayals as the frustrated advertising man..."
- Philip T. Hartung, Commonweal.


 Cary Grant ... Jim Blandings
 Myrna Loy ... Muriel Blandings
 Melvyn Douglas ... Bill Cole
 Reginald Denny ... Simms
 Sharyn Moffett ... Joan Blandings
 Connie Marshall ... Betsy Blandings
 Louise Beavers ... Gussie
 Ian Wolfe ... Smith
 Harry Shannon ... Tesander
 Tito Vuolo ... Mr. Zucca
 Nestor Paiva ... Joe Apollonio
 Jason Robards Sr. ... John Retch 
 Lurene Tuttle ... Mary
 Lex Barker ... Carpenter Foreman
 Emory Parnell ... Mr. PeDelford

Did You Know?

Third of three movies starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, following Wings in the Dark (1935) and The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947).

At the end of the movie, Mr Blandings is reading the book that the movie is based on.

The house built for the movie still exists in Malibu, California at coordinates: 34 degrees 5' 41"N 118 degrees 42'43"W on the old 20th Century Fox Ranch.

As a promotional stunt, the studio had 73 replicas of the Blandings house built around the country. Many opened for house tours, with the proceeds going to charity, and some were raffled off. The stunt obviously worked, because the film was a box office hit.

In 1951, Cary Grant reprised his role as Jim Blandings for "Mr. and Mrs. Blandings," a weekly radio program. Betsy Drake, Grant's wife at the time, played Muriel Blandings while Gale Gordon played Bill Cole.

During production, the House Un-American Activity Committee began attacking the film industry. John Huston & William Wyler visited the set to ask Myrna Loy to help organize a committee of their own, which she did. She also donated $1,000 of her own money.


Muriel Blandings: I want it to be a soft green, not as blue-green as a robin's egg, but not as yellow-green as daffodil buds. Now, the only sample I could get is a little too yellow, but don't let whoever does it go to the other extreme and get it too blue. It should just be a sort of grayish-yellow-green. Now, the dining room. I'd like yellow. Not just yellow; a very gay yellow. Something bright and sunshine-y. I tell you, Mr. PeDelford, if you'll send one of your men to the grocer for a pound of their best butter, and match that exactly, you can't go wrong! Now, this is the paper we're going to use in the hall. It's flowered, but I don't want the ceiling to match any of the colors of the flowers. There's some little dots in the background, and it's these dots I want you to match. Not the little greenish dot near the hollyhock leaf, but the little bluish dot between the rosebud and the delphinium blossom. Is that clear? Now the kitchen is to be white. Not a cold, antiseptic hospital white. A little warmer, but still, not to suggest any other color but white. Now for the powder room - in here - I want you to match this thread, and don't lose it. It's the only spool I have and I had an awful time finding it! As you can see, it's practically an apple red. Somewhere between a healthy winesap and an unripened Jonathan. Oh, excuse me...
Mr. PeDelford: You got that Charlie?
Charlie, Painter: Red, green, blue, yellow, white.
Mr. PeDelford: Check.

Jim Blandings: What's with this kissing all of a sudden? I don't like it. Every time he goes out of this house, he shakes my hand and kisses you.
Muriel Blandings: Would you prefer it the other way around?

Jim Blandings: This little piggy went to market. A meek and as mild as a lamb. He smiled in his tracks. When they slipped him the axe. He KNEW he'd turn out to be Wham!

Jim Blandings: That's fine. For the rest of my life, I'll have to get up at 5 in the morning to catch the 6:15 train to get to my office at 8. It doesn't even open until 9, and I never get there until 10!
Muriel Blandings: Well, maybe if you start earlier, you can leave the office earlier.
Jim Blandings: To get home earlier, to get to bed earlier, to get up earlier, I suppose.
Bill Cole: Maybe you can get the railroad to push the train up to 4:15. Then you won't have to go to bed at all.

Muriel Blandings: Mr. Zucca explained he has to use dynamite to blast to get rid of the rock.
Mr. Zucca: That's no rock. That's a ledge.
Bill Cole: What Mr. Blandings means is, what precisely is a ledge?
Mr. Zucca: A ledge is like a big stone. Only it's bigger.
Jim Blandings: Like a boulder!
Mr. Zucca: No, like a ledge.


Jim Blandings: Water, Mr. Tesander.
Tesander: Yep.
Jim Blandings: At six feet.
Tesander: Yep.
Jim Blandings: And just over there, you had to go down 227 feet to hit the same water.
Tesander: Yep.
Jim Blandings: Now, how do you account for that, Mr. Tesander?
Tesander: Well, the way it appears to me, Mr. Blandings... over here the water is down around six feet. And over there it's down around 227 feet.
[Bill Cole repeats the last line in unison with Tesander who looks over his should at Cole]
Bill Cole: Yep.

Lobby Cards:

"Just For the Sake of My Wife" - German Poster

Directed by H.C. Potter.
Distributed by RKO Radio Productions.
Running time: 94 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley of Studio 36.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

On This Day...Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Cary Grant's 30th full length film and his 2nd with Katharine Hepburn, was Bringing Up Baby, and was released on this date in 1938.


Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) has two reasons to be excited. He is about to be married and the final piece to a brontosaurus, the showpiece to his museum exhibit, will soon be in his possession. Furthermore, if he plays his cards right, a wealthy donor will donate $1 million to his museum, to aid his palaeontological collection. 

Unfortunately, he meets Susan (Katharine Hepburn), a woman who seems destined to unintentionally destroy his life. Huxley soon finds himself playing nursemaid to Baby, her leopard.

"Cary Grant does a nice job of underlining the situation."
- Otis Ferguson, The New Republic.


 Katharine Hepburn ... Susan Vance
 Cary Grant ... David Huxley
 Charles Ruggles ... Major Applegate
 Walter Catlett ... Slocum
 Barry Fitzgerald ... Mr. Gogarty
 May Robson ... Aunt Elizabeth
 Fritz Feld ... Dr. Lehman
 Leona Roberts ... Mrs. Gogarty
 George Irving ... Alexander Peabody
 Tala Birell ... Mrs. Lehman
 Virginia Walker ... Alice Swallow
 John Kelly ... Elmer

Did You Know?

The scene in which Susan's dress is ripped was inspired by something that happened to Cary Grant. He was at the Roxy Theater one night and his pants zipper was down when it caught on the back of a woman's dress. Grant impulsively followed her. When he told this story to Howard Hawks, Hawks loved it and put it into the film.

Christopher Reeve based his performance as Clark Kent in Superman (1978) and its three sequels on Cary Grant's character David Huxley from this film.

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant frequently socialized off the set, double-dating with their respective steadies at the time, Howard Hughes and Phyllis Brooks. They loved working on the film so much that they frequently arrived early. Since Howard Hawks was usually late, they spent their time working out new bits of comic business.

David makes reference to the notorious characters "Mickey the Mouse" and "Donald the Duck." RKO was Walt Disney's distributor at the time.

Cary Grant was not fond of the tame leopard that was used in the film. Once, to torture him, Katharine Hepburn put a stuffed leopard through a vent in the top of his dressing room. "He was out of there like lightning," wrote Hepburn in her autobiography Me: Stories of My Life

The scenes which involved Baby roaming around freely, notably in Susan's apartment, had to be done in a cage, with the camera and sound picked up through holes in the fencing. In fact, when Cary Grant steps into the bathroom to have a look at "Baby", there are subtle but visible reflections on the transparent wall between the actor and the leopard.


Mrs. Random: Well who are you?
David Huxley: I don't know. I'm not quite myself today.
Mrs. Random: Well, you look perfectly idiotic in those clothes.
David Huxley: These aren't my clothes.
Mrs. Random: Well, where are your clothes?
David Huxley: I've lost my clothes!
Mrs. Random: But why are you wearing these clothes?
David Huxley: Because I just went GAY all of a sudden!
Mrs. Random: Now see here young man, stop this nonsense. What are you doing?
David Huxley: I'm sitting in the middle of 42nd Street waiting for a bus.

David Huxley: Now it isn't that I don't like you, Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn toward you, but - well, there haven't been any quiet moments.

David Huxley: When a man is wrestling a leopard in the middle of a pond, he's in no position to run.

David Huxley: First you drop an olive, and then I sit on my hat. It all fits perfectly.
Susan Vance: Oh, yes, but you can't do that trick without dropping some of the olives; it takes practice.
David Huxley: What, to sit on my hat?
Susan Vance: No, to drop an olive.

David Huxley: You don't understand: this is my car!
Susan Vance: You mean this is your car? Your golf ball? Your car? Is there anything in the world that doesn't belong to you?
David Huxley: Yes, thank heaven, YOU!

On Set:

With Howard Hawks, Katharine Hepburn and Nissa(Baby).

Lobby Cards:

Directed by Howard Hawks.
Produced by RKO Radio.
Running time: 102 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley of Studio 36.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

On This Day...The Amazing Adventure of Ernest Bliss (1937)

 The Amazing Adventure of Ernest Bliss was Cary Grant's 26th film, and was released in 1937 on this date.


Ernest Bliss (Cary Grant) is a rich young man with too little to do. Not realizing the depression he's in is due to boredom, Ernest consults a doctor. Sir James Aldroyd gives Ernest a prescription that he doesn't think Ernest can fill: Ernest must earn his own living for one year using none of his current wealth. Ernest bets him 50,000 English pounds that he can.

"Mr. Cary Grant helps it along with a smooth and tactful performance."
- The Times (London)

"Cary Grant looks and acts the part with deft characterization." 
- Joshua Lowe,Variety


 Cary Grant ... Ernest Bliss
 Mary Brian ... Frances Clayton
 Peter Gawthorne ... Sir James Alroyd
 Henry Kendall ... Lord Honiton
 Leon M. Lion ... Dorrington
 John Turnbull ... Masters
 Arthur Hardy ... Crawley
 Iris Ashley ... Clare
 Garry Marsh ... The Buyer
 Andreas Malandrinos ... Guiseppi
 Marie Wright ... Mrs. Heath
 Buena Bent ... Mrs. Mott
 Charles Farrell ... Scales
 Quinton McPherson ... Clowes 

Did You Know:

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film.

The film was re-issued in the United States in 1937 under the title "The Amazing Adventure" (also alternatively "Romance and Riches"), and was edited down from the original UK running time of 80 minutes, to 61 minutes. Most prints these days are the shorter one.


Ernest Bliss: Here's to us!
[They drink the wine as she laughs softly]
Ernest Bliss: Ah, but it's good!
Frances Clayton: It's lovely!
Ernest Bliss: So cheap, my goodness, I thought it would taste like red ink. Fancy, it's magic. Yes, it's your magic too! It's you who turned this cheap wine, this cheap food into a feast for the gods!

Ernest Bliss: Rather difficult man to see, aren't you, Sir James?
Sir James Alroyd: Not for those who are punctual. Any other complaints?

Sir James Alroyd: What do you think's the matter with you?
Ernest Bliss: I don't know. That's why I came to see you. I can't eat. I can't sleep. I'm nervous. I never do anything, and I'm always tired.

Ernest Bliss: Well, then, what's the matter with me?
Sir James Alroyd: Money.
Ernest Bliss: Money. That' not an illness.
Sir James Alroyd: Mmmh. In your case, it's a disease.

Lobby Cards:

British release title : "Romance and Riches".

Directed by Alfred Zeisler.
Distributed by Grand National.
Running time: 70 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley of Studio 36.