Mr. Belvedere Rings The Bell is an adaption of a recent Broadway play, The Silver Whistle which Jose Ferrer starred in on Broadway for 219 performances during the 1948-49 season. Ferrer finds a birth certificate of a man who would have been 77 years old and through this gains entrance to a senior citizen home run by a church. He brings quite a bit of change to their lives while there.
Darryl F. Zanuck bought this for 20th Century Fox and adapted it to fit Mr. Belvedere. But instead of looking for some real lodging, Clifton Webb is doing this as a kind of sociological experiment, to test some theories he's written in a new bestseller about staying young. Webb interrupts his book tour much to the chagrin of Zero Mostel who is his agent and has some really good scenes in this film.
Frances Brandt, William Lynn, Kathleen Comegys, and Doro Merande all repeated their roles from Broadway as the senior citizen residents of this home. Hugh Marlowe and Joanne Dru play the reverend and the social worker who run the home and whom Webb helps to make realize they have more in common than the home.
One thing I will have to say that is completely ludicrous though. Clifton Webb was 62 when he made the film and looked it. The film says that he is 46 and trying to pass himself off to the seniors as a man who looks and feels young because of his way of living and looking at life with some ancient Tibetan medicine. That was just completely ridiculous and I think Clifton Webb knew it. Maybe that was why there were no more Belvedere films for him.
Still Webb left us with a priceless character on the screen for which he is most remembered and we can be grateful for the three films we do have.