Sitting Pretty (1948)

84 mins | Comedy | April 1948

Director:

Walter Lang

Writer:

F. Hugh Herbert

Producer:

Samuel G. Engel

Cinematographer:

Norbert Brodine

Editor:

Harmon Jones

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, in Jul 1947, Gwen Davenport's novel was adapted from her unpublished, three-act play Squatter's Rights. Early in Sep 1947, a pre-production news item announced that John Payne and Celeste Holm would appear in Sitting Pretty along with Maureen O'Hara and Clifton Webb. Although the CBCS lists Dorothy Adams as appearing in the film, her character was eliminated before the film's release.
       Two sequels featuring the "Mr. Belvedere" character were produced by Twentieth Century-Fox: Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (see entry) and the 1951 film Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell. Both films starred Clifton Webb, who received an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor for Sitting Pretty. In addition, Fox planned three additional "Mr. Belvedere" films for which scripts were written, but not produced. A radio version of Sitting Pretty, featuring Webb and Robert Young, was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre on 14 Feb 1949. In 1956, F. Hugh Herbert's script was remade as Mr. Belvedere for the CBS television series The 20th Century-Fox Hour. That version starred Reginald Gardiner, Eddie Bracken and Margaret Hayes. Pilots for a Belvedere television series were shot in 1959 with Hans Conried and, in 1965, with Victor Buono, but were never sold. From 1985 to 1990, the ABC network broadcast Mr. Belvedere, a television sitcom featuring Christopher Hewett in the title role. ...

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According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, in Jul 1947, Gwen Davenport's novel was adapted from her unpublished, three-act play Squatter's Rights. Early in Sep 1947, a pre-production news item announced that John Payne and Celeste Holm would appear in Sitting Pretty along with Maureen O'Hara and Clifton Webb. Although the CBCS lists Dorothy Adams as appearing in the film, her character was eliminated before the film's release.
       Two sequels featuring the "Mr. Belvedere" character were produced by Twentieth Century-Fox: Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (see entry) and the 1951 film Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell. Both films starred Clifton Webb, who received an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor for Sitting Pretty. In addition, Fox planned three additional "Mr. Belvedere" films for which scripts were written, but not produced. A radio version of Sitting Pretty, featuring Webb and Robert Young, was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre on 14 Feb 1949. In 1956, F. Hugh Herbert's script was remade as Mr. Belvedere for the CBS television series The 20th Century-Fox Hour. That version starred Reginald Gardiner, Eddie Bracken and Margaret Hayes. Pilots for a Belvedere television series were shot in 1959 with Hans Conried and, in 1965, with Victor Buono, but were never sold. From 1985 to 1990, the ABC network broadcast Mr. Belvedere, a television sitcom featuring Christopher Hewett in the title role.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Feb 1948
---
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1948
p. 3
Film Daily
24 Feb 1948
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 1947
p. 17
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1947
p. 15
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1948
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1948
p. 8, 13
Los Angeles Times
6 Sep 1947
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 Jan 1948
p. 4039
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Feb 1948
p. 4077
New York Times
11 Mar 1948
p. 35
Variety
25 Feb 1948
p. 8
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Ed supv
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
MUSIC
Orch arr
Orch arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Leo McCreary
Grip
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Belvedere by Gwen Davenport (Indianapolis, 1947).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Brazil," music by Ary Barroso.
SONGS
"Pretty Baby," music by Tony Jackson and Egbert Van Alstyne, lyrics by Gus Kahn.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
April 1948
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 Mar 1948
Production Date:
23 Oct--16 Dec 1947
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
10 March 1948
LP2006
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84
Length(in feet):
7,575
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
12814
SYNOPSIS

Harry and Tacey King enjoy an idyllic life in a pleasant suburb known as Hummingbird Hill. However, problems arise when their resident maid quits because she can no longer deal with the Kings's three young boys Larry, Tony and Roddy, and the enormous family dog. Harry, a lawyer, and Tacey as well as another young couple, Bill and Edna Philby, are invited to dinner at the home of Harry's boss and neighbor Mr. Hammond. They have difficulty finding a baby sitter for the evening and have to settle for Ginger, a sixteen-year-old with a crush on Harry. After dinner, the Hammonds and their guests are visited by their mutual neighbor, the prissy, nosy Mr. Appleton, who has come to deliver a letter he has received in error. He tells the Kings that he is surprised to see them there as he thought they would be at their own party. Harry and Tacey rush home and find that Ginger has invited a number of her friends over for a loud dance party. Because of this incident, Tacey places an advertisement for a resident nanny. After a series of telegrams are exchanged, the Kings decide to hire Lynn Belvedere, who has an impressive list of qualifications. While Harry is waiting at the train station for his new employee, who he assumes is a woman, a gentleman comes to the Kings's house and announces that he is Lynn Belvedere, a genius who has mastered many professions. Although uneasy about hiring a man, the Kings decide to give him a trial for a few days. Within a matter of hours, Mr. Belvedere has won the children over, fixed the ice box, subdued the ...

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Harry and Tacey King enjoy an idyllic life in a pleasant suburb known as Hummingbird Hill. However, problems arise when their resident maid quits because she can no longer deal with the Kings's three young boys Larry, Tony and Roddy, and the enormous family dog. Harry, a lawyer, and Tacey as well as another young couple, Bill and Edna Philby, are invited to dinner at the home of Harry's boss and neighbor Mr. Hammond. They have difficulty finding a baby sitter for the evening and have to settle for Ginger, a sixteen-year-old with a crush on Harry. After dinner, the Hammonds and their guests are visited by their mutual neighbor, the prissy, nosy Mr. Appleton, who has come to deliver a letter he has received in error. He tells the Kings that he is surprised to see them there as he thought they would be at their own party. Harry and Tacey rush home and find that Ginger has invited a number of her friends over for a loud dance party. Because of this incident, Tacey places an advertisement for a resident nanny. After a series of telegrams are exchanged, the Kings decide to hire Lynn Belvedere, who has an impressive list of qualifications. While Harry is waiting at the train station for his new employee, who he assumes is a woman, a gentleman comes to the Kings's house and announces that he is Lynn Belvedere, a genius who has mastered many professions. Although uneasy about hiring a man, the Kings decide to give him a trial for a few days. Within a matter of hours, Mr. Belvedere has won the children over, fixed the ice box, subdued the rambunctious dog, given the baby a bath and prepared a superb dinner salad. He soon establishes himself in Hummingbird Hill and proves a worthy adversary to Appleton. There are times, however, when the genius gets on Harry's nerves. In addition, Harry is concerned about leaving Tacey and Mr. Belvedere alone together while he goes on a business trip and asks her to sleep at the Philbys' house. This arrangement works well until one night Tony wakes up with stomachache and wants his mother. While Tacey is in her home caring for Tony, Appleton, having noticed the lights on, comes over to see if anything is wrong and finds Tacey and and Mr. Belvedere in their dressing gowns. The next day, Appleton gossips about what he has seen to the other neighbors and it is eventually reported to Hammond, that Mr. Belvedere was in pajamas, Tacey in a flimsy negligee and both were cavorting about, drinking gin. When Harry returns home, Hammond, who requires total respectability from his employees, tells Harry what he has heard. Harry accepts Tacey's explanation, but feels that Mr. Belvedere should leave to avoid further complications. When the boys protest vigorously, however, Harry reluctantly agrees to let Mr. Belvedere stay. Sometime later, after attending a lecture on child psychology, Tacey and Edna stop at a hotel restaurant for a snack. At another table are Mr. Belvedere and Harry's secretary, Peggy, who has brought Mr. Belvedere some papers. Peggy leaves before she is spotted, then Mr. Belvedere invites Tacey to rumba. Appleton and his mother, who have also attended the lecture, see the couple dancing and another rumor begins. Following a big fight with Harry, Tacey takes the baby and goes to stay at her parents' house. Although Tony asks his father to phone Tacey, both stubbornly refuse to communicate. Later, the neighborhood is up-in-arms after the publication of a book, Hummingbird Hill by Lynn Belvedere, about the manners and morals of suburbia and which contains thinly disguised portraits of several well-known people, including Hammond, who is depicted as an office lothario. Tacey hears from Bill and Edna that Harry has been fired for employing Mr. Belvedere and Bill has been fired for defending Harry. Tacey returns home to find Movietone News interviewing Mr. Belvedere in her living room. She and Harry reunite but she doesn't know whether to congratulate Belvedere or spit in his eye. Hammond then arrives and announces that he is suing Mr. Belvedere for libel. Appleton and the others in the community whose peccadilloes have been revealed in the book also intend to sue. Mr. Belvedere is delighted by this as it will result in more copies of his book being sold and asks Harry and Bill to represent him in the legal battles. When Mr. Belvedere identifies Appleton as his main source of information, the others vent their wrath on him. Later, Harry and Tacey decide to go out to dinner, and are surprised to find that Mr. Belvedere is still there, prepared to continue performing his duties. After Mr. Belvedere reveals that he plans to produce another two volumes and will write the entire trilogy under one roof, Harry and Tacey tell him they are expecting another child. Mr. Belvedere assures them that they will find him to be of great help as he is also an expert obstetrician.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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