Houseboat Cast (1958 film)

Houseboat Cast: Houseboat is a 1958 American romantic comedy film directed by Melville Shavelson. Starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, the film is a delightful blend of humor, romance, and family dynamics. Set against the backdrop of a houseboat on the scenic waters of Washington, D.C., the movie captures the essence of mid-20th-century American culture. In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the cast, plot, production, reception, and ultimately, the enduring legacy of “Houseboat.”

Houseboat cast
Houseboat cast
Release dateNovember 19, 1958
Duration1h 49m
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.5 million (domestic rentals)
DirectorMelville Shavelson
WritersMelville Shavelson
Jack Rose Betsy Drake (uncredited)
ProducersMelville Shavelson
Jack Rose Betsy Drake (uncredited)
Star castCary Grant
Sophia Loren
Martha Hyer
Harry Guardino
CinematographyRay June
EditerFrank Bracht
MusicGeorge Duning
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Houseboat Cast

Houseboat Cast

  • Cary Grant as Tom Winters: Cary Grant plays the lead role of Tom Winters, a widowed and somewhat disorganized father who hires Sophia Loren’s character as a governess for his three children. Grant’s portrayal is charismatic and showcases his trademark suaveness, making him an iconic figure in the film.
  • Sophia Loren as Cinzia Zaccardi: Sophia Loren, one of the most celebrated Italian actresses of all time, brings her beauty and talent to the character of Cinzia Zaccardi, an Italian immigrant who becomes the governess for Tom Winters’ children. Her performance is a standout, capturing both the charm and the vulnerability of her character.
  • Martha Hyer as Carolyn Gibson: Martha Hyer plays Carolyn Gibson, Tom’s fiancée. Her character adds complexity to the plot, creating a love triangle between herself, Tom, and Cinzia. Hyer’s portrayal provides a contrast to Loren’s character, highlighting the tension in Tom’s romantic life.
  • Harry Guardino as Angelo Donatello: Guardino plays Angelo Donatello, Cinzia’s former fiancé, who serves as an additional source of conflict in the story. His presence adds depth to the narrative and raises questions about Cinzia’s past.
  • Eduardo Ciannelli as Arturo Zaccardi
  • Murray Hamilton as Capt. Alan Wilson
  • Paul Petersen as David Winters
  • Mimi Gibson as Elizabeth Winters
  • Madge Kennedy as Mrs. Farnsworth
  • Charles Herbert as Robert Winters
  • John Litel as William Farnsworth
  • Susan Cabot as Mrs. Eleanor Wilson
  • Werner Klemperer as Harold Messner
  • Kathleen Freeman as Laundromat gossip


“Houseboat” follows the life of Tom Winters, an American lawyer living in Washington, D.C. Tom is struggling to raise his three children, Elizabeth (Mimi Gibson), David (Paul Petersen), and Robert (Charles Herbert), following the death of his wife. His children are unruly, and he’s in dire need of help. Enter Cinzia Zaccardi, an Italian woman who has recently arrived in the United States. Mistakenly believing that Tom is a wealthy diplomat, Cinzia agrees to become the governess for his children.

As Cinzia takes on her role as governess, she quickly discovers the truth about Tom’s modest life on a houseboat. The children, initially resistant to her presence, gradually warm up to her. Tom, on the other hand, begins to fall for Cinzia, creating romantic tension with his fiancée, Carol. The film explores the burgeoning romance between Tom and Cinzia, the challenges of blended families, and the cultural clash between American and Italian traditions.

The plot takes an intriguing turn with the reappearance of Cinzia’s former fiancé, Angelo Donatello. Angelo’s arrival adds complexity to the love triangle, creating moments of both comedy and drama. Ultimately, “Houseboat” navigates these conflicts and emotions, leading to a heartwarming and satisfying conclusion.


“Houseboat” was produced by Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose and directed by Melville Shavelson, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Jack Rose. The film’s production was a remarkable endeavor, showcasing the talent and creativity of the Hollywood industry during the late 1950s.

One of the most notable aspects of the production was the chemistry between the two lead actors, Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. Grant was a seasoned Hollywood icon known for his comedic timing, while Loren was a rising star from Italy, making her American film debut. Their on-screen chemistry was palpable and contributed significantly to the film’s charm.

The movie’s setting, a houseboat on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., added a unique and picturesque backdrop to the story. The houseboat itself became a central element of the film, symbolizing the unconventional and somewhat chaotic nature of the Winters family’s life.

The production also benefitted from a talented supporting cast and a well-crafted script that blended humor, romance, and family drama. The film’s score, composed by George Duning, complemented the on-screen action, enhancing the overall viewing experience.


Upon its release in 1958, “Houseboat” received generally positive reviews from both critics and audiences. The film’s blend of comedy and romance, combined with the magnetic performances of Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, contributed to its success.

Critics praised Cary Grant’s return to the romantic comedy genre and noted the excellent chemistry between him and Sophia Loren. Loren, in particular, received acclaim for her charismatic portrayal of Cinzia. Her natural beauty and talent captivated audiences and established her as a Hollywood sensation.

The film’s exploration of themes related to family dynamics and cultural differences resonated with viewers. It presented a heartwarming story of love, growth, and acceptance within the context of a non-traditional family setting.

“Houseboat” also performed well at the box office, becoming a commercial success. Audiences appreciated the film’s lighthearted humor, relatable characters, and timeless appeal.

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In conclusion, “Houseboat” is a classic romantic comedy that continues to charm audiences with its delightful blend of humor, romance, and family dynamics. Cary Grant and Sophia Loren’s magnetic performances, coupled with a well-crafted script and picturesque setting, make this film a timeless classic in the annals of Hollywood history.

The enduring legacy of “Houseboat Cast” lies in its ability to capture the essence of love, family, and cultural diversity, making it a beloved and enduring gem in the world of cinema. Whether you’re a fan of classic films or simply looking for a heartwarming story, “Houseboat” is a must-see that continues to stand the test of time.

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