Houseboat (1958): Cary Grant and Sophia Loren in Romantic Comedy

In Houseboat, a late romantic comedy in Cary Grant’s glorious career, the star scored still another box-office smash, this time around opposite Sophia Loren, Hollywood’s newly arrived Italian actress.

Story’s Origins
Grant’s wife Betsy Drake wrote the original script, for her and Grant to co-star. After he began an affair with Loren while shooting The Pride and the Passion, Grant arranged for Loren to take Drake’s place with a rewritten script for which Drake did not receive credit. The affair ended, when Loren opted to meet Italian producer Carlo Ponti.

Grant plays Tom Winston, a widowed father who packs himself and his spoiled kiddies off to a ramshackle houseboat. Meanwhile, Sophia Loren’s Cinzia Zaccardi, trying to break loose from her tyrannical father (Eduardo Cianelli), is hired as Grant’s housekeeper and his children’s governess.

Though Grant struggles to maintain a detached approach, he and Loren are attracted to each other and end up together, though not before complications and reversals, recriminations and mishaps.

The children learn to be polite and behave like angels, as was the norm of TV’s sit-coms at the time.

The on-screen romance between Grant and Loren in Houseboat continued into their private lives, though the Italian sex symbol opted to marry the older Italian movie mogul, Carlo Ponti.


Oscar Nominations: 2

Story and Screenplay (Original): Melville Shavelson and Jack Rose

Song: “Almost in Your Arms,” music and lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

Oscar Awards:  None

Oscar Context:

The Writing Oscar went to Nedrick Young (using the pseudonym of Nathan E. Douglas, while blacklisted) and Jacob Smith for The Defiant Ones.
Frederick Lowe and Alan Jay Lerner won the Song Oscar for Gigi.



Distributed by Paramount 

Directed by Melville Shavelson

Written by Melville Shavelson and Jack Rose

Release date: November 19, 1958
Running time: 109 minutes.
Box office: $3,500,000 in rentals