Tacey and Harry King are a suburban couple with three sons and a serious need of a babysitter. Tacey puts an ad in the paper for a live-in babysitter, and the ad is answered by Lynn ... See full summary »
Tacey and Harry King are a suburban couple with three sons and a serious need of a babysitter. Tacey puts an ad in the paper for a live-in babysitter, and the ad is answered by Lynn Belvedere. But when she arrives, she turns out to be a man. And not just any man, but a most eccentric, outrageously forthright genius with seemingly a million careers and experiences behind him. Mr. Belvedere works miracles with the children and the house but the Kings have no idea just what he's doing with his evenings off. And when Harry has to go out of town on a business trip, a nosy parker starts a few ugly rumors. But everything comes out all right in the end thanks to Mr. Belvedere. Written by
Clifton Webb became a major star for a while on account of this film, in which he plays an eccentric genius who comes to live in the house of a young couple as a kind of general purpose servant-maid-tutor-savant-philosopher-critic. There was no end, it seems, to what Mr. Belvedere could do, and do extremely well. Walter Lang directs this pleasant picture with much skill, if not inspiration, and as Webb's employers, Robert Young and Maureen O'Hara make an attractive couple.
Webb was a strange case. A huge star on the stage, his film career lasted less than twenty years. He was well into middle age when he started making movies, and at first he tended to play snobs and supercilious characters in general, starting with Laura, in 1944. Till Sitting Pretty came along he had appeared only in dramatic films, usually as a villain. Overnight, it seems, he was transformed, from upper class bad guy to loveable eccentric, and for a number of years he became a quite popular and unlikely star of often nostalgic films. Along with Charles Coburn, he was one of the last true Victorians of the movies, and as such a reminder of a more formal but also more individualistic time during in the postwar years. Sitting Pretty is an excellent showcase for Mr. Webb's unique brand of humor, as he managed to be superior and priggish but never mean-spirited.
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