- 1 hr 49 min
Houseboat is a 1958 romantic comedy film that tells the story of a widowed father, Tom Winston (Cary Grant), who decides to hire a houseboat in order to spend more time with his three children, David (Patrick Wayne), Elizabeth (Mimi Gibson), and Roberta (Sophia Loren in her first Hollywood role). Tom is a lawyer who has always been too busy with work to spend much time with his kids, but now he hopes to make up for lost time by taking them on a memorable adventure.
When the family arrives at the marina to pick up the houseboat, they discover that it is in disrepair and barely seaworthy. However, Tom is determined to make the best of it and enlist the help of Cinzia (Sophia Loren), a young Italian woman who works at the marina, to fix it up. Cinzia is hesitant at first, but Tom convinces her to come along with them on the houseboat as their cook and nanny.
The dynamic between Tom and Cinzia is initially tense, with Tom being strict and formal while Cinzia is carefree and spontaneous. However, as they spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for each other. The children, too, grow to love Cinzia and see her as a maternal figure.
As the family travels down the river, they have many adventures and mishaps, including getting stuck in a storm and accidentally entering a speedboat race. Along the way, Tom and Cinzia's relationship deepens, but there are obstacles to their love, including the fact that Tom is still grieving his late wife and that Cinzia is engaged to another man.
The film also delves into themes of class and culture clash, as Tom and Cinzia come from very different backgrounds. Tom is wealthy and privileged, while Cinzia is a working-class immigrant. Nevertheless, they find common ground in their mutual love for the children and their shared experiences on the houseboat.
The performances in Houseboat are excellent, particularly those of Grant and Loren, who have wonderful chemistry on screen. Grant brings his trademark charm and wit to the role of Tom, while Loren infuses Cinzia with warmth and depth. The child actors are also impressive, particularly Mimi Gibson as Elizabeth.
Houseboat was directed by Melville Shavelson and written by Shavelson and Jack Rose. The film was shot on location in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, with scenes filmed on an actual houseboat on the Potomac River. The cinematography is beautiful, highlighting the natural beauty of the river and surrounding areas.
Overall, Houseboat is an enjoyable and endearing film that showcases the talents of its cast and crew. The story is engaging and funny, with plenty of heartwarming moments. The film was a box office success upon its release, and it remains a classic of the romantic comedy genre.
Houseboat is a 1958 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 49 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.