Not a holiday movie but it has enough of the feel good factor that makes it a good one for the season. Clifton Webb reprises his Mr,Belvedere character who was last seen going to college in the 1949 movie “Mr.Belvedere Goes To College.” This time the arrogant author and genius is out to cheer up residents of an old age home. It’s a pleasant,non offensive comedy aimed mostly at the over fifty crowd.
Mr.Belvedere is sitting on a park bench when he hears some old people arguing. He asks the cop on the beat (Hugh “Ward Cleaver” Beaumont) about them. Currently he’s been lecturing around the country about staying young even if you’re eighty.
He tells his manager Emmett (Zero Mostel) he’ll meet him in Minneapolis. Emmett leaves and Belvedere tears up his ticket. He moves into the Church of St.John’s Home For The Aged. Through a misunderstanding by the Bishop he’s posing as a seventy-eight year old man named Oliver Erwenter.
In the home he meets the four people he heard and saw in the park. He also meets the lovely nurse Harriet Trip (Joanne Dru). The place is run by Reverend Charles Watson (Hugh Marlowe). Looks like the budget is going to be cut and Charles refuses to fight it. Harriet, who is sweet on him, gets annoyed.
Belvedere tells stories that claim he’s been everywhere, done everything and met everybody. The residents enjoy it all but don’t necessarily believe him. They start to get some energy. He’s only forty-six but they all except his story that he’s seventy-seven. He says his youthful appearance and demeanor are due to a secret youth potion he and a Tibetan put together in Tibet.
Harriet and Belvedere come on to each other trying to get Charles jealous. All he gets is indignant. The next day Emmett shows up. He traced him to the home and wonders why he left the lecture circuit. He says he wants to bring the residents out of their apathy and feel young again. They go into town and Belvedere goes to a pharmacy and puts together a placebo. He steals a Tibetan stamp from the library and fakes a package.
Charles is annoyed about Belvedere’s attitude but he tells the Rev that it’s good for them and puts together a picnic. Charles doesn’t tell Belvedere that he knows his real identity. He has one of his books in his library with Belevedere’s picture on the dust jacket. The residents are really coming out of their shells. The fake package from Tibet arrives and Belvedere passes the pills around. His big idea is for them to hold a church bazaar.
He has Emmett “acquire” the items he’ll need to decorate the garden area. Everything is going great but then…. a reporter (Warren Stevens) sees a newspaper article with Belvedere’s picture saying that he’s missing. Now it all starts to fall apart and the residents turn against him when they find out who he is and what he’s doing. His only friend is Harriet.
No surprise that the movie proceeds to a feel good ending….just what it’s supposed to do. The best feature is the old people are not made fun of and just may prove that old adage you’re as young as you feel.