Harried St Louis banker Roger Hobbs (James Stewart) wants to spend his vacation alone with his wife, Peggy (Maureen O’Hara) as a romantic getaway, but she insists on a month-long family reunion vacation at a friend’s California beach house that turns out to be dilapidated, dirty and broken down (Roger refers to it as “Dragonwyck”).
Daughter Katey (Lauri Peters), embarrassed by her braces, refuses to go to the beach, as does TV-addicted son Danny (Michael Burns).
When the family is joined by Hobbs’ two unhappily married daughters – Susan Carver (Natalie Trundy), who, with her unemployed husband, Stan (Josh Peine), has a permissive parenting style to their bratty kids (as per the latest child psychology books); and Janie Grant (Lili Gentle), whose college professor husband, Byron (John Saxon), has an academic view of everything in life) – he must help everyone with their problems to get some peace.
To top things off, Stan’s prospective new employer (John McGiver) and his wife (Marie Wilson) turn up unexpectedly as houseguests and turn out to be first-class zombies.
Fabian is charming as Joe Carmody, a suitor to young Katey, and shapely Valerie Varda drifts into the film for a few tantalising minutes. She can’t act, but nobody seems to object to that.
Herb Alpert appears in a cameo role as the trumpet player at the yacht club.