Sign in to follow this  
Jlewis

Sitting Pretty... or the hardly pretty battle between Lynn Belvedere and Clarence Appleton

34 posts in this topic

5 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This is also the case with his role in THE REMARKABLE MR. PENNYPACKER. Fox had a formula it used with him.

He was "scary" - make no mistake.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, DougieB said:

JL....Really good analysis of Laura. My problem is that every time I watch it I'm so damned attracted to Dana Andrews that I forget about the plot.

I understand his appeal to you. His affectionate side is displayed more often with the bros than the ladies. I mean... Harold Russell in The Best Years Of Our Lives may have hooks for hands, but that doesn't stop Dana Andrews from hugging him throughout the picture. Also he had a calming influence whenever Danny Kaye was Up In Arms.

He doesn't seem terribly romantic in most of the titles I've seen. Laura is a typical example since he is mostly there to save Gene Tierney and agitate Clifton Webb. There is some respectable courting in State Fair with Jeanne Crain, but even that relationship is mostly Platonic.

Now... he and Teresa Wright had good chemistry in The Best Years Of Our Lives and I think it was because she resembled his own wives off screen (one of whom sadly died young but the second gave him three kids). He seemed to be the kind of guy who wanted to be "mothered". That relationship starts because he is drunk and she reminds him that "I'm not that Peggy...", then tucks him into bed, "mothers" him when he has a bomber pilot nightmare and fixes him breakfast the next morning. Once she realizes that Virginia Mayo isn't properly "mothering" him, she informs her own mother Myrna Loy that "I am going to break that marriage up" while picking the peas for dinner in the bowl. (Teresa in this movie is almost, but not quite, as mothering as Ralph Waite in The Waltons.)

Re-watched Boomerang! again. His wife is played by Jane Wyatt in that one and she tries her best to be a Teresa Wright "mommy" replacement, getting him to drink his milk in the living room. Needless to say, I just didn't feel much "heat" between them like I did in The Best Years Of Our Lives. In fact, I had totally forgotten she was even in that movie until I watched it the second time. She serves no purpose to the story. She isn't helping him solve the priest's murder, stop Lee J. Cobb from chewing up the scenery with his method acting or defend Arthur Kennedy's innocence... and he does look at Dana longingly through those prison bars.

On 5/31/2018 at 7:02 PM, TopBilled said:

Yes, a lot happens in this film.

In Sitting Pretty, there really is an awful LOT of kissing and hugging between Maureen O'Hara and Robert Young. She also likes to sit on his lap when they are in their bath robes. Like everybody in 1940s movie screens (except maybe the Joe McDoakes series), they still have separate beds. Yet she is constantly visiting his to try to wake him up.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, rayban said:

Clifton Webb was usually "in command" - and nowhere is that more evident than in "Cheaper By the Dozen" and "Elopement" and "Holiday for Lovers" - his "heterosexuals" were almost militant - if you crossed them, you did so at your own peril.  

I'm trying to remember what his John Phillip Sousa was like in Stars and Stripes Forever; it's been so long since I've seen it. I don't recall that he was overbearing, which Webb was quite capable of being. The role didn't rely as heavily on his quirkiness as an actor as some other roles did. Anyway, you're right about the "in command" part; his fussiness was his way of imposing his will, which I suppose was looked upon in the 1940's/1950's as good parenting, but which would be a tougher sell now.

I'm also trying to imagine what it would look like if Webb and Richard Haydn had swapped roles. On the surface it would appear to be an easy thing to do because they were both effeminate, fussy and prissy, but I think you're right that there was an unyielding part of Webb's professional (and personal?) nature which required he always take the lead, even if it meant getting gunned down as in Laura. Appleton was more reactive and Belvedere more proactive, making sure that the playing field favored him over any potential opponents. Appleton couldn't calculate that far in advance.

Always the grand gesture....

la-marcha-triunfal.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe it is just me, but I don't view Webb as "effeminate" at all in this film. Instead he resembles a drill sergeant. The little boys all try to be affectionate with him and he puts them down constantly like The Stern Father Figure. One, I think it is the middle kid Tony, calls him Uncle and the reaction is brutal! Mr. King is attacked for socializing with little Rodney in the bath tub, but that is what you WANT a father to do! You don't want the kids to fear him. Again, I think Robert Young plays his role as the kind of daddy we all wish we had because he always supports his children unconditionally.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Due to the overwhelming success of SITTING PRETTY as well as his Oscar nominations for LAURA, THE RAZOR'S EDGE and SITTING PRETTY, Webb gained considerable clout at Fox. Moviegoers voted him the 7th most popular star in 1950.

So after SITTING PRETTY, he has top billing in all his films except BOY ON A DOLPHIN and SATAN NEVER SLEEPS where he was second billed after Alan Ladd and William Holden. Meaning he outranks people like Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers, Lauren Bacall, June Allyson, Van Heflin, Jeanne Crain, Fred MacMurray, Gloria Grahame, Jane Wyman, Joan Bennett, Robert Cummings, Joan Blondell, Cornel Wilde, Shirley Temple, Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Francis, Dorothy McGuire, Louis Jourdan, Sophia Loren, Paul Henreid; Frances Dee, Edmund Gwenn; Debra Paget; Jeffrey Hunter; Charles Bickford; and Robert Wagner.

He was a huge movie star at Fox from 1944 to 1962. He never had to do television. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TB....That's some list. A great way to put his career into perspective.

JL....You're right that effeminate probably wasn't the right term in this case and is by no means synonymous with gay or gay-coded. Webb really excelled at a**l types who could function well in highly regimented environments.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clifton Webb appeared in 20 motion pictures at 20th Century Fox:

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 2.48.06 PM.jpg

LAURA (1944)
THE DARK CORNER (1946)
THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946)
SITTING PRETTY (1948)
MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE (1949)
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (1950)
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE (1950)
MR. BELVEDERE RINGS THE BELL (1951)
ELOPEMENT (1951)
DREAMBOAT (1952)
STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (1952)
TITANIC (1953)
MISTER SCOUTMASTER (1953)
THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN (1954)
WOMAN'S WORLD (1954)
THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS (1956)
BOY ON A DOLPHIN (1957)
THE REMARKABLE MR. PENNYPACKER (1959)
HOLIDAY FOR LOVERS (1959)
SATAN NEVER SLEEPS (1962)

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, DougieB said:

TB....That's some list. A great way to put his career into perspective.

JL....You're right that effeminate probably wasn't the right term in this case and is by no means synonymous with gay or gay-coded. Webb really excelled at a**l types who could function well in highly regimented environments.

Actually two of you mentioned that word on this thread so far and, no, I wasn't suggesting that either of you was implying anything drastic. I myself found it amusing earlier that he works for the "kings", but there are no "queens" present. Yet I have a feeling he would make John Wayne cry with the way he rules the roost.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us