by Melville Shavelson


USA (New York City, Capitol Theater) - November 13, 1958 - Houseboat - 110'
Canada (Montreal, Loew's) - February 1959 - Houseboat - 110'
West Germany - September 29, 1959 - Hausboot - 109'
Italy - September 30, 1959 - Un marito per Cinzia -
France (Paris) - October 2, 1959 - La péniche du bonheur -
Belgium - 1959 - La péniche du bonheur / De woonschuit -
Spain (Madrid, Palacio de la Prensa & Roxy) - June 25, 1960 - Cintia - 110' (attendance: 5,151)

Italian poster French poster German poster American DVD


Upon the death of his wife, from whom he was separated, Tom Winters, a young Washington diplomat, finds himself with the unexpected responsibility of caring for his three children. The children, having always lived with their grandparents, consider him a stranger. One night one of the children escapes his father’s watchful eye, leaves the house, and meets Cinzia, a beautiful ltalian girl who is the daughter of a famous orchestra conductor on tour in the . Cinzia grows fond of the boy, makes the acquaintance of the other two children, and has the father hire her as governess. The little family then moves to a floating house on the Potomac River, but friction begins: Cinzia falls in love with Tom but the children rebel because they do not want anyone to take the place of their mother. The young woman leaves them all and goes back to her father in order to return to Italy. But Tom and the children, who can no longer do without her, catch up with her. (Masi/Lancia)
Story and screenplay: Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose.


Paramount Studios, Hollywood, CA
Washington, DC

Filming dates: August 12 - September 1957

End-of-movie party to celebrate Sophia's birthday on September 20


Cary Grant (Tom Winters)

Sophia Loren (Cinzia Zaccardi)
Martha Hyer (Carolyn Gibson)
Harry Guardino (Angelo Donatello)


Photography (Technicolor, VistaVision):

Ray June
George Duning

Edith Head

Hair Stylist:

Nellie Manley

Makeup Artist:

Wally Westmore
Still photographer:
Bud Fraker

Sophia's voice is dubbed by:
Marion Degler (German)

Jack Rose for Paramount / Scribe Productions


Shavelson had some difficulty in getting Loren's swarthy complexion lightened with makeup, saying at one point that she looked as if she were doing an "imitation of Al Jolson." She also affected a high-pitched voice, attempting to imitate Grant's sophisticated delivery, and again the director had to correct her.

TV Guide

Just by coincidence, the final wedding scene in Houseboat is filmed the same day Sophia and Carlo are married by proxy in Mexico.

Sophia sings the song Bing Bang Bong.

As she is stepping out of her limonsine on September 23, someone slams the door without noticing Sophia's hand is in the car. X-Rays reveal that there are no broken bones. Her hand
is bandaged and she continues work on the movie.

Sophia also has a stand-in for some parts of the movie named Lydia Bilbrey.

Sophia is a great music aficionado and spends a lot of time during the shooting on the set of St. Louis Blues starring Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.


"Loren's conventionally "Italian" look in the film no doubt goes far in winning her the hearts of the whole brood-Cinzia is a classic Italian babe who sings, dances, and cooks. This is signature American Loren, in one of the most beloved of her U.S. films. She is chic, and her fashions show her off to her best advantage, a bathing beauty and a glamour-puss all in one."
Deirdre Donohue. Sophia Style.

"A spirited Sophia Loren occasionally breaking into song and dance, seems more at home than in any of her previous American films."
Peter John Dyer, Monthly Film Bulletin

"With Miss Loren slinking abount the houseboat in various revealing states of décolletage, designed to catch the audience's attention, as well as Mr. Grant's, it is offensive to pretend to be interested in the emotional disturbances of kids."
Bosley Crowther, New York Times, 14 nov 1958

"Miss Loren is completely delightful in her first American comedy. She sings the popular Bing Bang Bong and a romantic ballad and in one jitter bugging sequence shows her talent as a dancer too."
Blue Island Sun-Standard, 15 jan 1959

"She (Sophia) adapts elegantly to the game and the requirements of sophisticated comedy and is photographed by a cameraman who knows his business."
Il Corriere della Sera

"The movie I made with Cary Grant, Houseboat, was the only one of my Hollywood endeavors that came off well."
Sophia Loren

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