Houseboat (1958)

110 or 112 mins | Comedy-drama | November 1958

Director:

Melville Shavelson

Producer:

Jack Rose

Cinematographer:

Ray June

Editor:

Frank Bracht

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, John Goodman
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HISTORY

Although contemporary news items note that the script was based on an unpublished story by B. Winkle (a pseudonym of Cary Grant's then-wife, actress Betsy Drake), onscreen credits and the SAB list Melville Shavelson and Jack Rose as the sole writers. In Sep 1956, an LAT story reported that Rose and Shavelson had engaged Anna Perrott Rose to write the screenplay, but her contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed.
       The same LAT news story asserted that the movie would be filmed on Lake Union in Seattle, WA. Other news items announced that the story was to be set in the Midwest. According to HR production charts, portions of the film were shot on location in Washington, D.C. Other portions of the film were shot on location in Virginia and California. According to a 5 Sep 1957 HR news item, the two-deck houseboat set constructed at the studio was the largest set then in use at Paramount. Rose and Shavelson's screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award, as was the song "Almost in Your ... More Less

Although contemporary news items note that the script was based on an unpublished story by B. Winkle (a pseudonym of Cary Grant's then-wife, actress Betsy Drake), onscreen credits and the SAB list Melville Shavelson and Jack Rose as the sole writers. In Sep 1956, an LAT story reported that Rose and Shavelson had engaged Anna Perrott Rose to write the screenplay, but her contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed.
       The same LAT news story asserted that the movie would be filmed on Lake Union in Seattle, WA. Other news items announced that the story was to be set in the Midwest. According to HR production charts, portions of the film were shot on location in Washington, D.C. Other portions of the film were shot on location in Virginia and California. According to a 5 Sep 1957 HR news item, the two-deck houseboat set constructed at the studio was the largest set then in use at Paramount. Rose and Shavelson's screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award, as was the song "Almost in Your Arms." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Sep 1958.
---
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1956.
---
Daily Variety
5 Sep 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Sep 58
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
6 Sep 58
p. 143.
Hollywood Citizen-News
20 Nov 1958.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 57
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 1957
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 57
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 1957
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 58
p. 3.
Life
13 Oct 1958.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
27 Mar 1956.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
14 Dec 1956.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Sep 1956.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Nov 1958.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Sep 58
p. 967.
New York Times
9 Nov 1958.
---
New York Times
14 Nov 58
p. 24.
New Yorker
22 Nov 1958.
---
The Exhibitor
17 Sep 58
p. 4514.
Time
1 Dec 1958.
---
Variety
10 Sep 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Prod assoc
WRITERS
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Makeup
Hair style supv
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst prod mgr
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
MUSIC
"That's Amore" by Harry Warren.
SONGS
"Love Song from Houseboat (Almost in Your Arms)," words and music by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, sung by Sam Cooke, a Keen Records Artist
"Bing! Bang! Bong!" words and music by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1958
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 November 1958
Los Angeles opening: 19 November 1958
Production Date:
early August--mid October 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp. and Scribe Productions
Copyright Date:
17 November 1958
Copyright Number:
LP12426
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity
Duration(in mins):
110 or 112
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18781
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Tom Winston, a government lawyer who, for several years, has been separated from his wife, takes charge of his three children--Elizabeth, David and Robert--following their mother's death, he is taken aback by their hostility toward him. His sister-in-law, the attractive but unhappily married Carolyn Gibson, explains that the loss of their mother has left the children with problems: None of them sleeps well, all three are melancholy and little Robert, who claims to hate everyone, does nothing but play the harmonica. After first agreeing to let Carolyn and her parents adopt the children, Tom suddenly decides to take them to nearby Washington, D.C., where he rents a small flat. The children are unimpressed with their new home, and following an evening concert at the Watergate, Robert hides in a rowboat on the adjacent Potomac River. Also attending the concert is the beautiful but restless Cinzia Zaccardi, who is accompanying her father, a famous Italian conductor, on a tour of the United States. Cinzia longs for freedom and male companionship, but her father keeps a tight rein on her, and she escapes a stuffy society dinner only by climbing out a window and into Robert's rowboat. Cinzia dances with the child at a street carnival and later that evening takes him home. Tom threatens to spank the boy until Cinzia gently advises him to be "a parent, not a policeman." Seeing that all three children are taken with Cinzia, Tom, who believes that she is an abandoned "G.I. bride or something," offers her a job as their maid. Amused, Cinzia declines the job and returns to her father, but when he ... +


When Tom Winston, a government lawyer who, for several years, has been separated from his wife, takes charge of his three children--Elizabeth, David and Robert--following their mother's death, he is taken aback by their hostility toward him. His sister-in-law, the attractive but unhappily married Carolyn Gibson, explains that the loss of their mother has left the children with problems: None of them sleeps well, all three are melancholy and little Robert, who claims to hate everyone, does nothing but play the harmonica. After first agreeing to let Carolyn and her parents adopt the children, Tom suddenly decides to take them to nearby Washington, D.C., where he rents a small flat. The children are unimpressed with their new home, and following an evening concert at the Watergate, Robert hides in a rowboat on the adjacent Potomac River. Also attending the concert is the beautiful but restless Cinzia Zaccardi, who is accompanying her father, a famous Italian conductor, on a tour of the United States. Cinzia longs for freedom and male companionship, but her father keeps a tight rein on her, and she escapes a stuffy society dinner only by climbing out a window and into Robert's rowboat. Cinzia dances with the child at a street carnival and later that evening takes him home. Tom threatens to spank the boy until Cinzia gently advises him to be "a parent, not a policeman." Seeing that all three children are taken with Cinzia, Tom, who believes that she is an abandoned "G.I. bride or something," offers her a job as their maid. Amused, Cinzia declines the job and returns to her father, but when he angrily vows never to let her out of his sight again, she decides to accept the job and move with Tom and the children to Carolyn's guest house in nearby Virginia. When the guest house is accidentally demolished, an Italian-American storekeeper named Angelo Donatello offers to sell Tom his rickety houseboat. During the family's stormy first night on the boat, Cinzia sends a frightened Elizabeth to sleep with her father, who slowly begins to treat the child with warmth and affection. Carolyn reveals that she is divorcing her philandering husband and admits that she has always loved Tom. Meanwhile, Angelo invites Cinzia to the Fourth of July dance sponsored by the Sons of Italy. Cinzia and the children work hard to fix up the houseboat, and soon it is homey and charming. David, unhappy about his father's constant criticism, however, decides to run away one windy night. When David's rowboat capsizes, Tom leaps into the river and saves him. Cinzia tries to persuade Tom to be more accepting of David, and as the two talk, they find themselves nearly kissing. The next morning, Tom and David discuss death, and David teaches his father how to fish. Tom begins to date Carolyn, which so upsets Cinzia that she decides to leave. Tom buys her a dress and remarks that she has pulled his family together again. Just then, Carolyn and her friends arrive, and after one of them insults Cinzia, Tom orders them from the houseboat. He then takes Cinzia to the country club dance, and as they kiss at the end of the evening, he realizes he is in love with her. To Cinzia's surprise, the children, especially the jealous David, disapprove of their romance, and after explaining that she could never take their mother's place, she brokenheartedly returns to her father. Tom tracks her down and declares his love in the presence of Maestro Zaccardi, who, although approving of the union, warns Tom never to hurt his beloved daughter. The children, however, do not come to terms with their father's remarriage until the wedding ceremony begins. After playing "The Wedding March" on his harmonica in the middle of the couple's vows, Robert smilingly approaches Cinzia, and the ceremony continues as the children join hands with the couple. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.