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Mr. Belvedere Goes to College

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Title: Mr. Belvedere Goes to College  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Elliott Nugent, Lynn Aloysius Belvedere, Shirley Temple, Up in Arms, She Loves Me Not (1934 film)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mr. Belvedere Goes to College

Mr. Belvedere Goes to College
Directed by Elliott Nugent
Produced by Samuel G. Engel
Written by Mary Loos
Mary C. McCall, Jr.
Richard Sale
Starring Clifton Webb
Shirley Temple
Tom Drake
Edited by Harmon Jones
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox
Release dates
  • May 1949 (1949-05)
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English

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. 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.

Plot Summary

Lynn Belvedere is the successful author of a novel called Hummingbird Hill. Because of the contents of the book, he has acquired quite a reputation and at the same time been sued and awarded a large cash prize from a foundation. Unfortunately he is required to have a college degree to pick up the prize.

Belvedere decides to enroll at Clemens University, in a four-year program. His intention is to complete the degree in one year only, even though he has no previous education. He passes the entrance exams with flying colors because he is self-taught genius, and begins his education. The Dean makes him promise not to bring bad publicity and lawsuits to the university.

At his dorm, he is assigned to share a room with a freshman named Corny Whittaker and a bossy sophomore named Avery Brubaker. Shortly after he has begun studying, a fellow student who writes for the school paper, Ellen Baker, wants to interview him. He refuses the interview.

Belvedere gets a job as a food server at a sorority house from the job coordinator Bill Chase. Bill is romantically interested in Ellen, and later at a dinner he introduces her to his mother, who is in charge of the sorority where Belvedere works. Belvedere plumply comments on some of the other girls' behavior and etiquette at the dinner.

Belvedere doesn't fit in well, and soon he is accused for having shaved during "Whisker Week". His punishment for his disobedience is having to wear a fake beard until further notice. A photo from the mock trial in which Belvedere is sentenced appears in an article written by Ellen. The article includes quotes from Belvedere that are critical of the other students at the university. The university is very displeased with Belvedere's alleged comments, even though Belvedere denounces the article for inaccuracy and plans to sue Ellen. He also threatens to sue the university. Belvedere argues with Ellen, accusing her of publishing pure gossip. He also refuses to allow her to submit the article to a major magazine.

The relationship between Bill and Ellen deepens, and she brings him home to meet her son, Davy. She tells Bill that she is a widow. He is troubled by this information, and it takes him several weeks to reconcile himself to her status. He returns to Ellen to explain his reaction, and they become engaged. Bill's mother, who thought he was dating a debutante, is scandalized.

When Ellen gets a cool reception from Bill's mother, she believes that Belvedere has been spreading foul rumors about her. She decides to send her article about Belvedere to the major magazine after all. Bill pleads with her not to, since both she and Belvedere will be in trouble. They argue. Belvedere arrives to talk to her, but she won't 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 after using his one phone call to call an old friend, J. Edgar Hoover. Ellen drops the charges and offers to collaborate with him on the article.

Belvedere successfully completes his degree in one year. The school president is happy that he didn't bring bad publicity to the university. After the Dean toasts him, Belvedere holds up the magazine with the article about him, featuring the Dean on the cover.[1]



  1. ^
  • Windeler, Robert (1992) [1978], The Films of Shirley Temple, Carol Publishing Group, pp. 246–7 

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