"Sitting Pretty" Is Released
Sitting Pretty (1948) is a comedy film which tells the story of a family who hires a man with a mysterious past to babysit their children.
It stars Robert Young, Maureen O'Hara and Clifton Webb. The movie was adapted by F. Hugh Herbert from the comic novel Belvedere (1947) by Gwen Davenport. It was directed by Walter Lang.
Clifton Webb has the role of a lifetime as Lynn Belvedere, self-styled genius and expert on everything. Belvedere accepts the job of baby-sitting the troublesome children of Robert Young and Maureen O'Hara; he wins the job by calmly dumping a bowl of cold oatmeal on the head of the couple's most contentious offspring! At first the family chafes at Belvedere's imperiousness and unlimited resourcefulness, but gradually everyone--especially the children--grow quite fond of the man. The couple's snoopy neighbor (Richard Haydn), noting that Belvedere spends quite a lot of time in the house when the husband is away, begins spreading rumors of a clandestine affair. Belvedere only fuels the flames of innuendo by working on a "secret project" in his room. That project turns out to be a book about the community where he is staying, a revealing volume that exposes the pettiness and hypocrisy of several respectable citizens. Robert Young nearly loses his job over the ensuing scandal, but when the community becomes world famous and the object of increased business activity, Belvedere is the hero of the day. Clifton Webb made so vivid an impression as Mr. Belvedere that he repeated the role in two sequels, and played variations of Belvedere (with emphasis on his "child psychology" tactics) in such films as Cheaper by the Dozen and Mr. Scoutmaster. After numerous failed attempts at launching a TV series based on the Gwen Davenport-created character, Mr. Belvedere settled into a long video run in 1985, with Christopher Hewett in the title role and sportscaster Bob Uecker as Belvedere's nonplused employer. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide