Clifton Webb recreates his Sitting Pretty role as Mr. Lynn Belvedere, the World's Greatest Genius. Belvedere discovers that he is ineligible for an honorary award because he never attended ...
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Harold S. Bucquet
Thornton Sayre, a respected college professor, is plagued when his old movies are shown on TV and sets out with his daughter to stop it. However, his former co-star is the hostess of the TV show playing his films and she has other plans.
Clifton Webb recreates his Sitting Pretty role as Mr. Lynn Belvedere, the World's Greatest Genius. Belvedere discovers that he is ineligible for an honorary award because he never attended college. So he enrolls as a freshman in a major university, becoming the target for "hazing" from obnoxious upper class-man Alan Young. The middle-aged Belvedere rapidly builds himself into Big Man on Campus, which complicates his intention of remaining incognito while attending college. Journalism major Shirley Temple likewise threatens to blow Belvedere's cover by writing an article about him for a major magazine. Before earning his college degree (four years' worth of study in six months!), Belvedere plays Cupid for Temple and her estranged boyfriend Tom Drake. Mr. Belvedere Goes to College proved successful enough for a follow-up film, 1951's Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell. Written by
Hal Erickson, Rovi
Amusing enough but even Belvedere's witty remarks can't salvage weak script...
Director/actor Elliot Nugent seems attracted to college tales, judging from this film and THE MALE ANIMAL (which he starred in on Broadway and directed on film). And it must have seemed a good idea to put CLIFTON WEBB, as Belvedere, the self-proclaimed genius, into a college setting so he could show everyone how smart he was even before getting a degree, but somehow MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE just misses the mark.
Not that everyone doesn't try. SHIRLEY TEMPLE, then still at a difficult stage in her adult career and returning to Fox for this co-starring role for the first time since her child career ended, is pert and pleasant as a young woman having an affair with TOM DRAKE, but their chemistry isn't there. And JESSE ROYCE LANDIS has her usual role as a meddling mother with ALAN YOUNG supplying some good comic support. But the end result is a mediocre comedy that fails to come up to the standards of what one expects from a Mr. Belvedere story.
Webb is witty and Temple is charming, but still the film flounders when it should sparkle and just possibly Elliot Nugent is partly to blame, although the script is certainly below par.
Summing up: It's trivial stuff, but if you keep your eyes open you might spot JEFF CHANDLER in a brief role as a policeman.
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