Unlike the similarly titled Capra comedies Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town — which centered on simple, honest rural folk colliding with urban disingenuity — Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is about the foibles and woes of an urban family whose disjointed lifestyle leads them to fumblingly seek a better life in the countryside.
For NY adman Jim Blandings (Cary Grant), life in the big city means never knowing where in his cramped apartment bedroom his wife Muriel (Myrna Loy) has put his socks, or when daughter Joan is in the single bathroom. Joan attends an expensive private school, and Muriel cautions Jim against undermining the teacher’s authority, though the teacher is subtly undermining Jim’s own authority.
Much of the Blandings’ dissatisfaction is of their own making, and unwise choices continue to be a source of woe as they discover that realtors can be shrewd, mortgages can be complicated, and everything costs twice as much as you initially expect it to. Melvyn Douglas provides the voice of experience as the couple’s lawyer and longtime friend.
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