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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House: 10/08/07
In the BookCrossing forums there is a long standing debate about film adaptations of books. With a well-read group of people, there is a lot of reluctance in the group at seeing the film adaptations as they are so often changed. I am firmly in the camp of film adaptation lovers. With so many books published every year it is impossible to read a significant cross section of them. Add up all the previous years and one is quickly faced with an avalanche of books! That's where the film adaptations come in; when I see a film has been inspired by a book I am almost certain to find a copy to read for myself. I've probably read hundreds of books "recommended" to me via the medium of film.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is one of these books. I saw the 1948 film starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy on cable (back in the days when we could afford cable) and loved the film. It's actually my second brush with the book (having seen The Money Pit, the 1986 Spielberg version first). But it was the Cary Grant version that made me want to read the book. The next day I purchased a copy for myself.
So, does the book hold up to the movies? Yes. The 1948 versions is a very faithful adaptation in the setting, the plot and the characters. The book though is an even quirkier story than the film, being told in a number of ways: via an omniscient narrator who for the most part follows Mr. Blandings, letters between Blandings and the various workmen involved in the house, newspaper clippings and Mrs. Blandings's diary. The diary entries really caught my attention because they read so much like modern blog entries (minus the emoticons).
Besides the quirky narration, the book is illustrated by William Steig. Steig's cartoons pull out the funniest passages in the chapter and bring them to life with just a few lines.
I've added your review to the Book to Movie listing."