Friday, March 27, 2009

3/22/09: Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949)

Here's the second of three Mr. Belvedere movies starring Clifton Webb as the exceedingly acerbic, multi-talented, impeccably groomed genius who always has a snappy comeback to every remark hurled at him. ("You play like Rubinstein," gushes a female student as Webb tickles the ivories, to which he replies, "Rubinstein plays like me.") Belvedere has evidently retired from taming toddlers and set his sights on co-eds. The idea of Mr. Belvedere enrolling in college is as preposterous as shipping George Clooney off to Handsome School; sure, it's contrived, but it's a cute way to get the 60-year-old into a freshman's beanie and face hazing by upperclassmen.

Webb's co-star is Shirley Temple, playing an aspiring journalist. I've never seen a real Shirley Temple movie, so it's bizarre that my first would feature her as a widowed mother in her early 20s. (Her cuteness hadn't worn off, but I wasn't crazy about her hair style.) While not quite as hysterical as the first Belvedere film (Sitting Pretty), it's still full of great lines and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Featuring Alan Young, years before he became best friends with a talking horse in TV's Mr. Ed. I believe this qualifies as the first time I've seen three movies from the same series this year. Rating: 4/5.

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