Casting the villainous Clifton Webb -- he of the supremely oily elegance -- in a light and fluffy comedy was quite a gamble, but the gamble paid off in spades for Sitting Pretty. Despite a number of other important assets, Webb is the anchor that keeps bringing this lightweight comedy back to the earth with a deliciously solid and amusing thud; never a crash, of course, for, in this film at least, Walter Lang is too careful and nimble a director to allow anything cataclysmic to happen. He just makes sure that the thrusts and counter thrusts are carefully aimed to nick without damaging. Thus, every conflict is given just the right weight, and the cast deftly walks the careful line between too much and too little. Webb, of course, steals the show, giving the lie to the adage that actors should never play scenes with children; he mops up the floor with those on hand here. He's given great support by Robert Young and Maureen O'Hara, and Richard Haydn even manages to sneak in a few punches of his own. Silly and often predictable, Sitting Pretty nevertheless is sprightly and engaging and a great deal of simple fun.
by Craig Butler review