Melvyn Douglas narrates this film, and as Bill Cole( aka the best friend/lawyer) shares the billing with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy ( Mr. and Mrs. Blandings).
Trapped in a small apartment in NYC, the uptight Mr. Blandings needing something, anything… sees the potential for salvation in a broken down old house, while trying to avoid a 7,000 dollar interior decorating bill thought up by his wife. Bill acts as the only voice of reason, and Melvyn Douglas does a commendable job trying to talk the insane Cary Grant out of getting swindled in a country house purchase. But the heart wants what the heart wants.
“Good thing there are two of you, one to love it and one to hold it up.”
This, like so many other films, was remade into an 80’s Cult Classic with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long. While The Money Pit may seem like a far stretch given it’s classy and sophisticated predecessor- the premise is the same. Take your biggest and best dream, and finally get yourself into the place to reach it ( aka- the dream house), then watch it fall apart right before your eyes. Being the uptight, type A man- it’s difficult to let the dream go, so you poke it and prod it, and pour money into it. That’s what you do. All your beliefs support it. Meanwhile, your family falls apart and your marriage strains. The plumbing, electricity and foundation crumbles, and still you are sure, so sure, this is your dream- you must save it! So while you’re best friend makes a play for your wife, and your sad bank balance forces you to borrow credit, you stick by principles that you made up to support dreams you think you should have. But sometimes, most times, that little voice inside you knows what its doing. Sometimes its not blatant stubbornness, and the heart really does know what its doing. What culminates is something you can be proud of- an external representation of a necessary journey.
The Money Pit successfully drives this concept home through ridiculous antics( tom hanks stuck in the floor), and lots of screaming, while Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House uses cartoon imaginings and snarky remarks from Melvyn Douglas. But the message is the same,
“Why is he always hanging around, why doesn’t he get married or something?” “Cause he can’t find a girl as sweet and pretty and wholesome as I am.”