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Sitting Pretty (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Family | April 1948 (USA)
A family that hires a live-in babysitter is surprised when he turns out to be a man who's a quirky genius.

Director:

Walter Lang

Writers:

F. Hugh Herbert (screen play), Gwen Davenport (novel)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Young ... Harry King
Maureen O'Hara ... Tacey King
Clifton Webb ... Lynn Belvedere
Richard Haydn ... Mr. Clarence Appleton
Louise Allbritton ... Edna Philby
Randy Stuart ... Peggy
Ed Begley ... Horatio J. Hammond
Larry Olsen ... Larry King
John Russell ... Bill Philby
Betty Lynn ... Ginger (as Betty Ann Lynn)
Willard Robertson ... Mr. Ashcroft
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dorothy Adams ... Mrs. Goul (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

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 Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

NEVER WAS A BABY-SITTER LIKE THIS! (original print media ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Family

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is one of the few (if any) films which shows what an accomplished dancer Clifton Webb was. During his Broadway career, he was known for his dancing and his singing, as well as his comedy. See more »

Goofs

Roddy spills hot cereal on Belvedere's sleeve at breakfast. Belvedere's sleeve is clean in every subsequent shot. See more »

Quotes

Lynn Belvedere: Intoxication is a form of escape often sought by the mentally immature.
See more »

Connections

Featured in History Brought to Life (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Blame Me
(uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
[Played by the orchestra at the restaurant]
See more »

User Reviews

A Neat Trick
7 June 2012 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

This was one of the most popular movies of 1948, and is still sweetly amusing. What impresses me on this latest viewing is how well actor Webb and screenwriter Herbert carry off their trick. The challenge is to keep the audience from reaching through the screen to throttle the stuffy, know-it-all, Belvedere (Webb). In short, a dislikable Belvedere would ruin the movie. So how do you, on one hand, establish his needed superiority, and, on the other, not let it ruin the comedy. After all, it's his unusual character that distinguishes the story as a whole.

As I see it, Webb and the dialog handle the challenge by making Belvedere a strictly matter-of-fact character. He says he's a genius, because as a matter of fact, he is. Crucially, he's not bragging— that would make him dislikable. Instead, he asserts his superiority much like a scientist might impartially acknowledge a fact. He's not egotistical about his accomplishments; instead, he's kind of like an impartial observer of himself. This doesn't exactly make him likable, but it does save the movie's pivotal character from being dislikable, at least as I see it. And I think it's a credit to the screenplay that they don't soften his unsociable character to maybe please the audience. All in all, I think Belvedere is a rather daring role for a comedy of its time.

Of course, it helps to have two of the screen's more likable younger actors, Young and O'Hara, as co-stars with Webb. Plus, having a fuss-budget like Haydn (the gossipy Appleton) in the same film as fuss-budget Webb sets up certain delectable possibilities. Then too, setting events in the white-collar suburbs mirrored post-war changes going on with audiences that were also getting back to family life following years of hardship and sacrifice. So, to me, it's not surprising the movie was such a hit in its day. And happily, I think it's still pretty amusing.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sitting Pretty See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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