And the entire city believes it was at the hands of the husband who survived. When Will investigates the tragedy, his only lead comes from Ann Paterson (Watts), a neighbor who was close to the family that died. As Will and Ann piece together the disturbing puzzle, they discover that the story of the last man to leave Will's dream house will be just as horrifying to the one who came next.
In 1948, RKO Studios needed a rural setting in which to film exteriors for their comedy "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House". Their neighboring studio, 20th Century Fox, had 2,000 acres of dramatic landscape in the Malibu hills that served as their location ranch, so a deal was made and construction began.
Many films were shot (at least partly) at Fox Ranch, most notably "How Green Was My Valley"; "Viva Zapata" with Anthony Quinn and Marlon Brando; the "Daniel Boone" television series with Fess Parker; "Love Me Tender" with Elvis Presley and "Dr. Dolittle" with Rex Harrison. Perhaps the two most famous films shot there were a part of the famous cliff jump scene from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and the original "Planet of the Apes" with Charleton Heston and Roddy McDowell. The best-known production staged at the ranch was the beloved M*A*S*H television series where exteriors were shot for 11 years.
Parks departments nationwide are chronically underfunded, so it should be no surprise and perhaps it is cosmically fated, that the once breathtaking Blandings house is now quite bland. It remains however, as administrative offices for park employees and as an important part of the history of Malibu Creek State Park.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" is a mildly amusing comedy with strength enough in star names to pull through to satisfactory grosses. Cary Grant's boxoffice value will be an important aid in boosting initial ticket sales, and names of Myrna Loy, Melvin Douglas and others are marquee familiars.
Eric Hodgins' novel of the trials and tribulations of the Blandings, while building their dream house, read a lot funnier than they filmed. Norman Panama and Melvin Frank come through with a glossy luster in handling physical production, but failed to jell the story into solid film fare in their dual scripting.