Sitting Pretty

 

Sitting Pretty

Screenplay by F. Hugh Herbert

Based on the novel by Gwen Davenport

Photography by Norbert Brodine

Edited by Harron Jones

Music by Alfred Newman

Produced by Samuel G. Engel

Directed by Walter Lang

Theatrical Release: 1948

 

Cast:

Maureen O’Hara

Clifton Webb

Robert Young

Richard Haydn

Louise Allbritton

Ed Begly

John Russell

Larry Olsen

Anthony Sides

Roddy McCaskill

 

Production Studio:

Theatrical: 20th Century Fox

Video: Fox Cinema Archive

 

Video

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 480i

Codec: MPEG-2

Disc Type: DVD-VOD

Bit Rate: Moderate (ca. 5 Mbps)

Runtime: 84 min.

Region: 1

 

Audio:

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

 

Subtitles: None

 

Bonus Features: None

 

Presentation:

DVD Clamshell Case: VOD

Street Date: April 16, 2013


 

Critical Press:

TV Guide

If ever an actor was born to play a part, it was Clifton Webb in his Oscar-nominated role as Lynn Belvedere, a prissy genius who takes a job as a babysitter. The scene is Hummingbird Hill, a typical suburban community where the three sons of Harry and Tacey (Robert Young and Maureen O'Hara) are so bratty that the family has lost a trio of maids, with little hope of finding another replacement. Tacey advertises in the local paper and in walks Mr. Belvedere, a self-proclaimed genius with definite ideas about raising children. He is stern but fair and it's not long before the boys knuckle under to his discipline. When the baby tosses oatmeal at Belvedere, his response is to toss the goop right back at the baby, thereby establishing his superiority.


             

 

Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

Enjoyable domestic comedy of manners on uptight suburbanites and their imperious know-it-all male babysitter. This is the effete curmudgeon character film role that endeared the 60 -year-old Clifton Webb to the public and made him a star. Because the film was so popular, it led to several sequels. . .Though it settles for being a breezy sitcom comedy, it still pumps into its storyline some subversive moments such as a possible intellectual homosexual male being better at caring for children than the idealized American heterosexual couple and that being unconventional will cause a witch hunt in such conventional suburban places where conformity is more important than finding one's own identity. The social commentary offers a slice of life view on how things operate in the 'burbs, but backs off onto safe ground after railing against how the leading citizens are trapped into leading boring lives because of their fears of social pressure and ostracism. – Dennis Schwartz


             

 

The Movie: 8

Self-proclaimed genius, bone-specialist, bee-keeper, psychologist, locksmith, pugilist, ballroom dancing instructor, obstetrician, film director and, of course, baby-sitter and housekeeper, Clifton Webb’s Lynn Belvedere brings a breath of fresh, if snippy air into the suburban neighborhood of Hummingbird Hill and the home of Harry and Tacey King and their three spoiled children in particular. There is a touch of Mary Poppins about this story, only that Lynn Belvedere doesn’t like children, though they love him. The script is witty – brilliant at times. Clifton Webb is his trademark snooty, erudite self and the sight gags don’t wear themselves out. Maureen O’Hara and her best friend and neighbor, played by Louise Allbritton, demonstrate just how difficult it is to bring off natural, spontaneous laughter – their stifled giggles being the only uncomfortable moments in this chamber of manners – bad and good. Special mention should be given Richard Haydn as the nosiest of neighbors and Roddy McCaskill as the King’s youngest tyke who wears his oatmeal to better effect than Mae Clarke’s grapefruit.


             

 

Image: 6

Fox Cinema Archives, like Warner Archive, are not DVDs in the usual sense but burned just as we would do at home. They have no menus to speak of, only chapter advance every ten minutes. Unless “Remastered” (a term that is hard to wrap one’s mind around since it is unlikely we would have on hand the previous video version), these video discs are simply transferred “from the best materials available” and are thus entirely dependent on the condition of those sources. Fox’s transfer starts off well enough but by about the halfway point loses control of the contrast and grays out to the light side too much. Detail is still decent, but the balance is off. Aside from this nagging point, sharpness is satisfactory, though coherence is problematic. A classic film this good deserves better.


             

 

Audio & Music: 7/8

Fox’s minimalist approach to the transfer offers clear dialogue, effects and music. Clifton Webb’s snappy quips are always discernable, the stifled laughter of O’Hara and Allbritton rises just above the noise floor, as do Richard Haydn’s snoots and little Roddy McCaskill’s sobs and whimpers.

 

Extras:

None.


             

 

Recommendation: 7

The classic comedy of manners and suburban bigotry that made Clifton Webb an even bigger star than he was after he stole the picture from Gene Tierney and everyone else in Laura. The image quality is just OK; there’s room for improvement. Recommended until a better transfer comes along.


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

May 14, 2013


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