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HC Potter
Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas
Writing Credits:
Norman Panama

A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country built to their specifications, but they wind up with more than they bargained for.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 5/18/2021

• Lux Radio Theater Broadcast
• Screen Directors Playhouse Broadcast
House of the Future Animated Short
• Trailer


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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House [Blu-Ray] (1948)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 17, 2021)

Let’s head back to 1948 for a little classic Cary Grant via Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. The movie takes us to New York City to introduce us to resident Jim Blandings (Grant).

Along with his wife Muriel (Myrna Loy) and kids Joan (Sharyn Moffett) and Betsy (Connie Marshall), Jim lives a life that forces him into various indignities that come with big city life. These wear on Jim and make him long for a simple existence.

To that end, Jim decides to purchase land in Connecticut and construct his ideal home there. As great as that sounds, the reality of the situation turns out to be more complicated than Jim anticipated.

If that sounds like a recipe for “fish out of water” comedy, then you interpret the aims of Dream correctly. The movie clearly aims to toss out as many laughs at Jim’s unwitting expense as possible.

Potentially stale as the premise might sound, Dream works, largely due to crisp writing and a strong cast. For those of us too young to know Grant during his years as an active actor, I think we often remember him more as the star of thrillers like Charade and North By Northwest.

Of course, Grant made his bones in comedies such as Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday. That makes Dream part of his 1940s wheelhouse, even if these movies sometimes became overshadowed by his later efforts.

Dream doesn’t quite qualify as a classic on a par with Story or Friday, but it doesn’t seem like a shame that it can’t match up to those elevated level. Though not exactly a deep movie, Dream provides a thoroughly entertaining experience.

No one should expect a plot-heavy affair here, as Dream mainly exists as a framework more than a formal story. We get a mix of narrative situations that exist to motivate comedy.

I don’t regard that as a bad thing, though, for Dream brings such a charming experience. Grant plays the lead as arrogant and stubborn but not a jerk, which seems like an important distinction.

Too many movies of this sort paint the lead as a buffoon, whereas Jim feels pig-headed in a comedic manner. He gives Jim the right tone to make him the amusing butt of jokes but not a moron.

Loy gets less to do but she adds grounding to the proceedings. It helps that the movie doesn’t let her off scot-free either.

Most movies would turn the wife into the intelligent, practical one who holds back her idiot husband from ruin. Muriel does that a little, but she gets carried away with the fantasy home as well, so she doesn’t end up a bland nag.

At a tight 94 minutes, Dream comes with little flab and it creates a fun tale. Charming and amusing, this turns into an enjoyable farce.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Very few issues materialized in this satisfying transfer.

For the most part, sharpness seemed positive. I noticed slight softness in a few shots, as some elements appeared slightly ill-defined. Those instances were exceptions, though, as the majority of the flick was pretty tight and nicely delineated.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering marred the presentation. Edge haloes failed to appear, and the film came with a nice layer of grain.

Source flaws were totally absent. This became a clean image, and with natural grain, I saw no signs of egregious noise reduction.

Contrast succeeded, blacks were dark and firm, and shadows seemed fairly good. I felt pleased with this appealing image.

We got a perfectly adequate DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack for Dream. Like most films of the era, speech sounded somewhat thin, but the lines always remained easily intelligible, and they lacked edginess.

Effects were also a bit trebly and without much range, but they seemed fairly concise and didn’t suffer from significant distortion. The score fit in with the rest of the audio, as the music felt reasonably lively. This turned into a more than acceptable mix for a 73-year-old movie.

We can a mix of extras here, and we find two separate radio shows. The disc includes a “Lux Radio Theater” version from October 10, 1949 (57:27) as well as a “Screen Directors Playhouse” rendition from June 9, 1950 (29:34).

For the Lux show, Cary Grant reprises his lead role and Irene Dunne substitutes for Myrna Loy. With the Screen Directors broadcast, Grant returns but this time Betsy Drake takes over the Loy part.

Given it runs nearly twice as long, obviously the Lux version brings the more “complete” reproduction of the story. The Screen Directors leaves out enormous chunks, so it rushes through the tale.

Both seem fun to hear, though. Grant tends to overact – perhaps due to his inability to use facial gestures – but the audio shows become an enjoyable way to hear the story.

In addition to the film’s re-issue trailer, the disc ends with a “classic cartoon” called The House of Tomorrow. From 1949, it runs six minutes, 51 seconds and offers Tex Avery’s take on modern homes. It’s not especially PC but it seems clever.

Though not a movie that breaks fresh ground, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House offers such a witty and charming affair that its predictable elements don’t matter. We get a bright, funny take on the subject matter in this winning affair. The Blu-ray brings solid picture and audio as well as a decent set of supplements. This becomes a good release for a delightful film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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