Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

The pursuit of the perception of greater prestige is one that encompasses Western society’s identity. The quest, attainment, and dissolution of achievement creates an inner restlessness to strive towards higher prosperity without appreciating and smelling the roses. This eventual dissatisfaction inevitably leads to risk-taking, with disastrous and/or meaningful results.  In H.C. Potter’s 1948 classic screwball “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House”, the commonplace and relatable journey from leasing to owning and then renovating a home is the focus. Disillusionment of the idyllic country life is eye-opening to the tired yet wide-eyed urban dwellers in the film.

Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) is an advertising executive and family man who has just been assigned to the doomed ham/WHAM campaign, much to his displeasure. He is also frustrated with the tiny square footage and lack of closet space in the New York apartment which he shares with his wife Muriel (Myrna Loy) and daughters (Connie Marshall and Sharyn Moffett). Much to the dismay of his lawyer “best friend” Bill Cole (Melvyn Douglas), the Blandings are deceptively swindled and decide to buy a somewhat dilapidated home that has been erect since the Revolutionary War. This purchase obviously and inevitably does not come without challenges. The multitude of foundational issues with the “new home”, the Blandings’ sometimes varying opinions on construction and blue printing, writer’s block regarding the ham-like WHAM, as well as finance and jealousy all collide to create calamity in classic screwball style.


Becoming a home owner has become a pinnacle of success in our current landscape. It signifies that an individual or family appears to be financially stable and at ease in their lives, prepared to take on this rewarding challenge. Owning a home also signifies autonomy and independence, and undertaking renovations can be an extension of one’s creativity. If the owners are in a relationship, this whole process can also be a test of strength, endurance, and compromise in their unity. It is the hope of all involved that the “ultimate dream home” helps to create actualization and a future of stability and fulfillment.



I do not own any of the photos in this post. As well, this post is part of the Favourite Film and TV Homes Blogathon hosted by Phyllis Loves Classic Movies and Love Letters to Old Hollywood! Please visit their sites between May 5 – 7, 2017 to check out many great posts regarding this wonderful topic!


12 thoughts on “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

  1. I love this and enjoyed your unique approach to it. My favorite scene is the one where they draw all over the blueprints. Comedy gold! I really need to read the actual book!

    Thanks so much for participating in this blogathon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It is such a fun movie with so many comedic aspects, but I think at the heart of it is a dissatisfied man who is not quite sure what he wants. It is such a great blogathon, and I am loving the posts so far!


  2. I’ve listened to the radio production for an episode of Screen Director’s Playhouse and one of Lux Radio Theater for this. (I’ve got access to a website that has thousands of old radio shows). Never actually watched the movie, though. Hey, how about that…I’m at the library… they have a copy…. and its checked in…. no excuses now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for joining us with this insightful piece! This movie is such a riot. Myrna Loy’s scene where she talks about what colors she wants the walls is amazing. Really, though, everyone in this film is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A fave movie for me and my mom. I love the scene where Myrna is trying to explain the exact paint colors she wants for the various rooms in the house and when she has walked away and is out of earshot, the painters all agree on her colors: red, white, green, blue….-just delightful!!


  5. Some of you may know that as a promotion for the Blandings film 73 actual Dream Houses were built across the U.S. in 1948. I’m currently trying to track them all down. Pictures of the ones I’ve found can be seen at this Pinterest page-

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Charlene,

    Hello! I’m looking forward to your article about “Love Me Tonight.” I just wanted to send you a little reminder note about the banners. Since you’re writing about a movie with just Jeanette MacDonald, please use the third banner in my announcement, which features a picture of Jeanette by herself.

    Thank you!


    Rebekah Brannan


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