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Saturday Movie Review

April 23, 2011

Mr. B and I have been watching movies to get us through the house planning process, especially movies about everything going wrong with houses but then everything being right. We’ve stayed away from “House on Haunted Hill” type things. With that theme in mind, I’d like to bring the 1948 Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House to your attention.

Cary Grant and Myrna Loy play the Blanding’s, a middle-class couple with two children and a very small apartment in New York. In classic 1940’s style, the Blanding’s sleep in two beds, but still have a maid, which I guess is supposed to show us that they are well-to-do. After Mrs. Blandings suggests spending $7,000 to redecorate their living room (Mr. Blandings earns $15,000 a year), they decide to buy a home in the country. The couple know nothing about property or houses and quickly fall in love with a ramshackle house on 50 acres after their realtor tells them General Gates watered his horse at the house during the civil war. Despite the advice of their lawyer and friend, the Blandings decide to buy the house. Unfortunately, they quickly discover that the house needs to be torn down and a new one put in its place. This video shows why it is so important to know what is wrong with your current house, but also why you need to start out with a realistic idea of the size of the house and the cost:

Despite a cost of $12,500, they decide to build a new house on the property rather than walk away. Of course, costs skyrocket and every mishap happens, including the family moving into the house without any windows because they’ve been sent to the wrong address. Here is a video of Mrs. Blandings talking with their painter:

Despite mishaps, job trouble, and marital trouble, everything works out great for the family (it is an old movie after all). I recently discovered that the movie is based on a book by Eric Hodgins, the real Mr. Blandings. Hodgins and his wife had many of the same issues with their house (unexpectedly high costs, delays) and nearly went bankrupt building their home. Two years later they were forced to sell the house and downsize, but Hodgins’ book about their experience was an instant hit and he made $200,000 for the movie rights.

Check the movie out even if you aren’t tearing your hair out over house plans.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rita permalink
    May 19, 2011 1:07 pm

    Just watched it. Reminds me a lot of the shenanigans you have gone through. Hope you will be just as happy at the end of this process. Best wishes.

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