After the sudden accidental death of his estranged wife, State Department attorney Tom Winters (Cary Grant) returns to America from Europe to take care of his three precocious children – Robert (Charles Herbert), Elizabeth (Mimi Gibson) and David (Paul Petersen) – whom he hardly knows.
Plagued by the struggle for a place to live, the family find themselves on a ramshackle houseboat on the Potomac River near Washington.
He hires Cinzia (Sophia Loren) to help, believing her to be a housekeeper and nanny.
She is, in fact, the socialite daughter of a famous Italian orchestra leader and conductor and is trying to escape from her stern and overprotective father.
While it’s quickly apparent that Cinzia has fallen in love with Tom, he is unaware of it and permits himself to be roped into a half-hearted promise to wed his pretty sister-in-law, Carolyn (Martha Hyer), who is suspicious of Tom’s relationship with his housekeeper.
Cinzia, meanwhile, miraculously transforms the leaky houseboat into a glamorous vessel, shining with new paint and all brightly fixed up with new furniture.
She also invents useful Rube Goldberg-style devices, such as a bell attached to a fishing line that rings if a fish is hooked.
The kids don’t much like Dad – who had been indifferent towards them during his wife’s lifetime, working abroad for the government – but they love Cinzia.
Until they learn that pop is going to marry her: then they hate her too.
It’s a warmhearted escapist comedy romance and Sophia Loren is a knockout.
Capt. Alan Wilson
Mr William Farnsworth