Mr. Belvedere Goes to College

Mr. Belvedere Goes to College is a 1949 American comedy film directed by Elliott Nugent. The screenplay written by Mary Loos, Mary C. McCall, Jr., and Richard Sale was based on characters created by Gwen Davenport. It follows on from Sitting Pretty (1948), and had a sequel, Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951). The film focuses on prickly genius Lynn Belvedere (Clifton Webb) who enrolls in a major university with the intention of obtaining a four-year degree in only one year.

Mr. Belvedere Goes to College
Theatrical release poster
Directed byElliott Nugent
Produced bySamuel G. Engel
Written byMary Loos
Mary C. McCall, Jr.
Richard Sale
StarringClifton Webb
Shirley Temple
Tom Drake
Music byAlfred Newman
CinematographyLloyd Ahern
Edited byHarmon Jones
Distributed byTwentieth Century-Fox
Release date
  • May 1949 (1949-05)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,650,000[1]


Lynn Belvedere, though the successful author of a scandalous, best-selling book titled Hummingbird Hill (as described in Sitting Pretty), has not benefited financially, as he has had to fight many libel suits as a result. He has been awarded a literary prize from a foundation. One requirement for the $10,000 prize is that he be a college graduate.

To meet that requirement, Belvedere decides to enroll at Clemens University. The president of the university allows him to do so, on condition that he not do anything publicly detrimental to the institution. Belvedere intends to complete the four-year program in a single year, even though he has no formal education. He passes the entrance exams with flying colors because he is a self-taught genius.

He is assigned to share a dorm room with freshman Corny Whittaker and bossy sophomore Avery Brubaker. A fellow student who writes for the school paper, Ellen Baker, wants to interview him, but he declines.

Belvedere gets a job as a food server at a sorority house from student job coordinator Bill Chase. Bill is interested in Ellen, and later at a dinner he introduces her to his mother, who is in charge of the sorority. Belvedere corrects the girls' behavior and etiquette at dinner.

Belvedere is punished for shaving during "Whisker Week": he has to wear a fake beard until further notice. Ellen takes a photo of him and his beard for an article she is writing. The article includes quotes from Belvedere that displease the university greatly, even though Belvedere states they were not intended for publication and plans to sue Ellen and the university. Instead, Belvedere advises Ellen not to publish pure gossip in future and not to submit another, longer article to Look magazine.

As the relationship between Bill and Ellen deepens, she introduces him to her young son, Davy. She tells Bill that she is a war widow. He is taken aback, but after thinking it over, he patches things up with her, and they become engaged.

When Ellen gets a cool reception from Bill's mother, she believes that Belvedere has told Mrs. Chase about her son. She decides to send her article about Belvedere to the magazine after all. Bill pleads with her not to, but she refuses to listen. Belvedere tries to talk to her, but she will not let him in. He sneaks in through the window. The police find him in her apartment and arrest him, believing he is a Peeping Tom. Belvedere is released when Ellen drops the charges. He then arranges for her to make up with Bill.

Belvedere not only completes his degree in one year, he is the class valedictorian.



Jeff Chandler has a small role. He says he played "the bigger of two cops".[2]


  1. "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. 4 January 1950. p. 59.
  2. Jeff Chandler Finally Gets to 'Act His Age': Rising Young (31) Screens Player Considers Himself 'a Lucky Kid' SCHEUER, PHLIP K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 29 Oct 1950: D3.
  • Windeler, Robert (1992) [1978], The Films of Shirley Temple, Carol Publishing Group, pp. 246–7
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