First of three movies about the snobbish genius Lynn Belvedere. Clifton Webb was nominated for Best Actor. The Oscar went to Laurence Olivier for “Hamlet.” The movie features what happens when a man is hired as a babysitter for a suburban couple with three kids. It is fun without being silly.
Hummingbird Hill is a typical suburb. Tacey (Maureen O’Hara) and Harry King (Robert Young) are a typical suburban couple. They have three unruly kids and a Great Dane. Harry works in a law office and has to go to the boss’s house for dinner. Coming along are Bill Philby (John Russell) and his wife Edna. The boss is Horatio Hammond (Ed Begley).
The King’s had a tough time getting a babysitter because no one wants anything to do with their kids. They finally settle on sixteen year old Ginger (Betty Lynn). Tacey isn’t too happy that she has a crush on Harry.
Things are going well until the neighborhood gossip Clarence Appleton (Richard Haydn) stops by. He’s had a good example on being a busybody from his mother who sits at her windows with a pair of binoculars. He tells the Kings’ that he drove past their house and there was a party going on. They head back and it’s true.
Tacey decides they need a live in babysitter and puts an ad in the Saturday Review. She gets a businesslike answer from Lynn Belvedere. After a quick exchange of letters Lynn is hired. Harry goes to the train station to pick her up. Back at the house the doorbell rings. Tacey and Edna are shocked to find out Lynn is a man. He tells them he’s a genius. He also wants a place to do his work. He doesn’t say what it is.
It doesn’t take long for him to win over the kids and even Henry the dog. He also becomes an adversary to Appleton. Harry has to leave on a business trip to Chicago. It comes out that he’s jealous of the friendship between Tacey and Belvedere. He wants to stay home but she says she’ll stay at the Philby’s while he’s gone.
Everything’s fine until young Tony wakes up with a stomach ache. He wants his mother and Belvedere calls her to come home. Appleton sees the lights on and stops by. He sees Tacey and Belvedere in their robes and PJ’s. Belvedere is also pouring water out of a gin bottle. That’s all Appleton has to see. He can’t wait to spread rumors.
Harry comes back from a successful trip but Hammond isn’t impressed. He heard the rumors and believes them. Harry storms home but finally believes Tacey that nothing happened. He thinks it may be better to fire Belvedere but the kids convince him otherwise.
One night Tacey and Edna attend a lecture and then decide to grab a bite. Belvedere is there too with Harry’s secretary Peggy who gave him some notes. She leaves before being spotted. Belvedere joins the ladies and eventually dances with Tacey. Appleton and his mother come in and once again rumors fly.
Harry gets into a jealous rage and confronts Tacey. She’s had it and takes the baby to her mothers. Then the neighborhood is in an uproar. Belvedere has written a best seller called “Hummingbird Hill.” It’s a satire with the names of the residents thinly disguised. It exposes their behavior which they wanted to keep secret.
Of course the movie continues to a satisfactorily conclusion. The storyline is briefly continued in the next movie “Mr.Belvedere Goes To College” (1949).
Interesting the big suburban expose novel “Peyton Place” by Grace Metalious would be published in 1956.