Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Sitting Pretty


Robert Young and Maureen O’Hara get top billing here, but the picture belongs to Clifton Webb, whose portrait of live-in “nanny” Mr. Belvedere was funny enough to win him an Oscar nomination and two sequels, which I haven’t seen. Belvedere describes his occupation as “genius,” and you really can’t fault him. Prissy and condescending, he proves to be able to do almost anything, the least of which is to tame the unruly sons of the suburban couple who reluctantly hire him. (His first name is Lynn, and when they accept his application by mail they understandably figure it’s a woman.) He’s doing something mysterious in his room, which is always locked. It turns out he took the job to sort of go undercover in the suburbs, and is writing a tell-all book about the small mindedness of many of the people who live there. He himself becomes part of the neighborhood gossip when Young goes out of town and Belvedere and Maureen are seen together in the house. Alone! This was still pretty scandalous in1948, if you can believe that. My, how proprieties have changed in my lifetime! The book becomes a best-seller, and the gossips are shamed. This is all pretty funny stuff, though a bit dated. It also stars Richard Haydn, who you probably have seen playing super-stuffy types such as butlers. I had fun.