HAPPY, HAPPY 110th BIRTHDAY, STILL OH, SO HANDSOME GEORGE!!

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I tried to present a slideshow of photos of you, George, showing your handsomeness chronologically through the years. I hope I succeeded! I know that you would still be stunningly handsome at 110!

George, you are SO very handsome to me at every age,  although I must confess a weakness for the photo of you from the movie “The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry” (1945).  If I haven’t already done so I need to create a post just about you in that movie. Because Harry is so very different from the other roles you played, particularly that  of a Cad,  it really shows your talent and versatility as an actor , as well as your incredible good looks and sexiness!

It continues to amaze me that although I have been watching your movies through the years I still cannot take my eyes off you!  When you are on the screen I am so captivated and mesmerized by you that a dozen naked men could be dancing around the scene but I would never notice them. When I look at your incredibly handsome face I am reminded of the song by Bruno Mars “Just The Way You Are”. To paraphrase:

“When I see your face there’s not a thing that I would change ’cause you’re amazing just the way you are.

And when you smile the whole world stops and stares for a while ’cause you’re amazing just the way you are!”

I will be spending all day on your birthday watching movies of you and drinking Starbucks mocha frappuccinos. I cannot eat while watching you so no alcohol until I take a break for supper. After that I will have a very dry vodka martini, or two, while I watch you in “The Saint” series. I love to drink a martini when you drink yours in “The Saint In London”, which was actually filmed in London and was released in June 1939. I have read that the director of the movie had been looking forward to working with you but was surprised when you arrived with a Prussian haircut. This was because you had just completed filming a film where you played a Nazi, I think it was “Confessions of a Nazi Spy”, which was released in May, 1939. During the filming of “London” you had to wear a hairpiece but you were still stunningly handsome. I recognized that it was a hairpiece because your hair grows down slightly further on the left side of your forehead and it was straight across in the hairpiece.

I am still deciding which of your wonderful movies to watch on your birthday, which is a difficult decision because I love all your movies. At present I’m thinking they will be: “Foreign Correspondent”(1940), “Rebecca” (1940), “The Lodger” (1944), “Hangover Square” (1945), “The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry” (1945), and “Journey to Italy” (filmed in 1953, released in 1954), plus “The Saint” series, at least the first four. I am not particularly fond of the fifth, “The Saint In Palm Spring”, because in this movie the Saint takes on more of the characteristics of “The Falcon”, which you began filming that same year, 1941. You are great as The Falcon, but I much prefer the character you played as “The Saint”. Also, I loved your hair best before you began to part it in 1941, but that is just me. I hope I have time to watch all these movies!!

You filmed a number of movies in which you played a Nazi. You once remarked that you were cast in that role because you could say “schweinhund”, which in German is the vile insult, “pig-dog”, with such feeling. When I was working in the Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress I would occasionally assist someone from Germany. I always told them that I only knew two bits of German, “Ich liebe dich”, which means “I love you” and “schweinhund”,i.e., pig-dog. They always found this amusing.

I am going today to buy your birthday card (or cards!) today. I will try to control myself and only buy a couple rather than the half dozen or so that I usually buy. I guess I continue to be so besotted with you that one card is not enough.

Well, I will end this post by writing what I always write and say about you: There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be a man as brilliant, talented, handsome, sexy, and desirable as George Henry Sanders!

 

George’s Birthday Bash on Turner Classic Movies Network Two Years Ago!

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Before I start the post I will point out that the slideshow photos have nothing to do with the content of the post. They are just photos of George being INCREDIBLY handsome (as usual)!

Well, I am happy to report that two years ago TCM showed some good sense in celebrating George’s birthday by showing his films from 6 am until 8 pm that blessed day.I hope that they do that again this year. Personally I think they should have shown his films until midnight! Actually, I think they should show nothing but George’s films, just kidding! (not really, LOL) I also wonder who selected these particularly films and why. Among the  films shown was “The King’s Thief”. Why this film? If TCM wanted to show George as Charles II, why not select a really good one and I am referring to “Forever Amber”. In “The King’s Thief” George had hardly any screen time, only at the beginning and the end of the film, and when he was on the screen he portrayed Charles II almost as a parody. I could almost see him laughing to himself!  For the small amount of time George was on the screen one could hardly recognize him because they had put long, fat dreadlocks and a tiny little upturned mustache on him. What a waste of his natural beauty!
The second film shown was the 1960 movie “The Last Voyage”. George looked handsomely distinguished in the film, as one would expect. However, the role made no demands on George’s acting skills. The production date for the movie was mid-May to late Dec 1959. The film opened in New York on 19 Feb 1960 and in Los Angeles on 24 Feb 1960. The reason I add this info is that the movie was filmed shortly after George and Benita were married. According to the American Film Institute’s discussion of the film, it was photographed almost entirely in the Sea of Japan, off Osaka, using the retired French luxury liner Île de France. On pages 151 to 160 of his Memoirs George gives a very amusing description of the filming of the movie and his experience in a Japanese restaurant as well as his thoughts about the Japanese. I have a great photo of George playing the piano on the ship right next to a large hole in the floor through which the piano later fell. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Special Effects. It is an interesting film but was no challenge for George–one could almost visualize him yawning his way through. It does give us a chance, however, to see George handsomely striding about the deck of the ship and he really looks gorgeous in his captain’s uniform.🙂

More about George on his 110th birthday this July 3rd!

George, the Dreadful month is here…

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George, I have created a slideshow of some of my favorite photos of you in your youth as well as some of you as you aged. Looking at you helps soothe my sadness during this dreadful month when you left us forty-four long, lonely years ago. Each year during the month of April I paint my fingernails black all month. On my right ring finger I paint a white, broken heart and on the left ring finger I paint two sad tears.

I understand your reasons for taking your own life. All your life you had been very healthy and athletic. This made accepting your declining health even more difficult. Although you were only sixty-five you had suffered some strokes which made maintaining your balance difficult and at times you had to use a cane. You had fallen on the set in some of the movies you were filming and this caused problems for you. You were no longer able to play the piano as you had always done so beautifully. Frustrated, you had servants take the piano outside where you took an ax and chopped the piano to pieces. This is symbolic of the state in which you lived at this time. There seemed to be no pleasures left to you in life.

In addition to your physical decline you were suffering from loss of memory. You felt that you were sinking into dementia and would soon no longer be able to care for yourself and you didn’t want that burden to fall on your sister. You had seen you mother with her progressing dementia and what caring for her had done to your sister.

I only wish that I had been able to be with you and help you.
This post is so very difficult and painful to write so I have made it very short.

After this depressing month is over I will be writing some fun posts discussing all your talents and movies.

George, you are such a versatile actor!

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I was just thinking about all the movies you made, George–around 135, I think, not counting your television career. It struck me how very versatile you have been. What springs to my mind first is the comparison between the roles you played in the 1941 movie “Rage In Heaven” and the 1942 movies, “Her Cardboard Lover” and “The Moon and Sixpence”. In “Rage” you convincingly played a really sweet, lovable guy who gets the girl (Ingrid Bergman) in the end, whereas in “Cardboard Lover” you convincingly played an arrogant upper-crust guy who used and controlled the girl (Norma Shearer) and eventually lost her to the nice guy (Robert Taylor)–as if any woman would leave YOU for Taylor–ridiculous! In “Moon” you just as convincingly played the role of  a dull, boring stock broker, who callously left his wife to go to Paris and become a flamboyant, shabby, Bohemian painter (modeled on Gauguin).

You played two very opposite roles in “Man Hunt”(1941), where you played a very nasty Nazi (you were sexy even as an awful Nazi) and then you played a hero of German descent in the 1943 movie “They Came To Blow Up America”. Then we can go back to 1940 to the two Alfred Hitchcock movies you made that year. In the first, “Rebecca”, you played the role of the dreadful cad, Jack Favell,–an absolute rotter, as the English might put it. Here you cemented your “Cad” persona. However, later that same year, you played the role of a smart, thoroughly decent guy, Scott ffolliott, in “Foreign Correspondent”. Here you again showed your extreme versatility as an actor.

I sometimes get carried away when I discuss George’s movies and the various types of characters he played. I want to discuss the characters George played in some of his films made in 1945, 1946, and 1947. First, one of my favorites, “The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry”(1945), I believe I have discussed this film before in other posts. The movie tells the story of a milk-sop fellow who is guiltily engaged in an incestuous relationship with his younger sister,  played by Geraldine Fitzgerald. She manipulates her brother by using her sexuality and supposed illness to bend him to her will. This role of course is completely opposite to George’s real personality but he manages a convincing portrayal. “Harry” meets a lovely woman (Ella Raines) and falls for her. Interestingly, she also manipulates “Harry” to get what she wants.

The year after filming”Harry”, George filmed “A Scandal In Paris” (1946) where he easily plays a completely different character, a charmer with a tongue as nimble as his larceny. He is reformed by his love for the daughter of the French minister of justice. The story is based on the true life of the French criminal Eugene Francois Vidocq. You can see how George is enjoying playing this character and he does so beautifully. He also wears some lovely tight pants in the film which I enjoyed very much.

Then we move on to 1947 where George filmed two movies with completely different type leading men. The first is “The Private Affairs of Bel-Ami”where he plays a nineteenth-century cad, George Duroy, who rises to success in journalism by using women and then discarding them when they are of no further use to him. This type cad is one George was used to playing and came very easily to him. He said it was one of his favorite films. I suspect this is because he is so physically disguised by having very dark hair and a moustache (spelled Mustache in the U.S.) that you cannot even recognize him.  George was able to hid his really sensitive, insecure, and introspective self convincingly behind Duroy’s character.

“Bel-Ami” can be compared to another one of George’s 1947 movies, “Lured” where he played opposite to Lucille Ball before she became a comedian. The film is set in Edwardian London and George plays a suave nightclub proprietor, Robert Fleming. He woos Lucy and she falls in love with him (which I have read she really did) George plays a womanizer (more like George’s real character) who women are unable to resist.  Other than both being irresistible to women, Fleming is completely opposite to the role George played in “Bel-Ami” but being very suave and unflappable in real life, as well as being a woman-magnet, George is very convincing in the role of Fleming.

I could go on for hours discussing the various types of men George could convincing portray but I will stop with one more comparison from the 1950s.  First, in the 1953 movie, “Call Me Madam”, George plays a charming and elegant foreign minister from a small European country. His co-star, Ethel Merman portrays an American who is sent to that country as U.S. ambassador. George has an adorable European accent and gets to surprise everyone by singing in his deep, beautiful, melodious voice. No one knew how beautifully George could sing! One can contrast this sweet fellow which George plays in this movie to his performance in the 1954 movie, “Witness to Murder” where George plays a more familiar despicable character. Here George is  portrayed as an ex-Nazi named Albert Richer whose killing of a woman is witnessed by Barbara Stanwyck. In one scene George goes into a very convincing Nazi rant. You could he was having fun ranting and raving like an insane man!

Well, for now I  will stop going on and on about George’s versatility as an actor. I am sure that his versatility is obvious to everyone by now. George could obviously play any type of character very convincingly.

Next post will have to be one which I have to write every dreadful April, the month when George left this world a poorer, sadder place without him….

 

 

 

 

THE MOST HANDSOME GEORGE SANDERS WILL BE 109 ON JULY THIRD!

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Well, it is that time of year when I get to wish you Happy Birthday again, most desirable George. I’ll bet you would still be desirable at 109. Your charm and good looks will never leave you, George.
I am sitting here at my computer listening to classical music while I try to think of adequate words to write about you. I know you loved music and would enjoy listening to this music too. You were good with music as you were with everything. After all, you could play four instruments–the piano, the guitar, the saxophone, and of all things, the accordion! I have a photo of you playing an accordion. Also, you composed music for the piano and wrote some love songs. I have the album of love songs you made in 1957 and one of the songs you sing in your deep, melodious voice is one you composed–“Such Is My Love”. It is beautiful. (Well I just received a message on my cell phone and I know that because your are singing “More Than You Know” to me as you do when I receive a text.)

I have become addicted to a very entertaining movie you made in 1951! TCM showed it a couple of months ago and I recorded it. I have watched it almost every day since then. It is entitled “The Light Touch” and as you probably remember, it was filmed from mid-April to early June in 1951 in Sicily and at Cinecitta Studios in Rome. This was shortly after you received your Academy Award for your outstanding performance as the cynical Broadway critic, Addison DeWitt, in the 1950 movie “All About Eve”. “The Light Touch” was released on December 6, 1951. I don’t know why it wasn’t released until almost six months after the filming was completed. Perhaps the editing took longer than expected.
For those of you who have not seen the movie George portrays a cultivated European art dealer, hiding his larcenous, and if need be murderous, ways behind a facade of wit and charm. Of course, George has so much natural wit and charm that the role was no challenge to him. His portrayal is fascinating and very entertaining and one can hardly wait for him to make his many appearances on the screen. He is, as usual, so big and tall and handsome that he owns every scene he is in–and his voice is like warm honey. A detailed synopsis of the movie can be found on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB)and the catalog of the American Film Institute website.
I highly recommend the movie.

WITHOUT YOU FOR FORTY-THREE YEARS THE WORLD IS A POORER, SADDER, MORE LONELY PLACE, GEORGE…

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[caption The grey April clouds are raining down tears of sadness because you are not with us, George. You have been gone from us for forty-three long, lonely years. No man has come along who can replace you.

I comfort myself by viewing your wonderful movies and basking in your handsomeness and then listening to your rich, deep, melodious voice with the sexy English accent as you sing love songs from your 1957 album. I also find comfort in cataloging all my photos of you, arranging them chronologically by movie and putting them into albums.  I  can delight my eyes by looking  at my condominium walls which are covered with framed  photos of you, posters and lobby cards from your movies, and other entertainment memorabilia involving you.

I know you would not want us to dwell on the sadness, George so I will talk about some happier things that have been happening. , In addition to “Rebecca”, “All About Eve”, and “Journey To Italy” , some of your other movies have been released as blu-ray.  Among them is one of my very favorites, “The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry”.  (The photo in my slide show labeled “my favorite George” shows what George looked like in the movie. It was a publicity photo for the movie.) This movie was filmed in 1945 and the film had deteriorated badly. Although the wonderful folks at UCLA had worked to restore it, the image quality was still not as good as one would want. However, the image quality of the blu-ray dvd is startlingly good. When I watched it I simply had to gasp with delight. The images are high definition and very clear. One can see George’s handsomeness very well. I encourage everyone to buy it.

A play by Thomas Job, Uncle Harry was originally presented on Broadway. George portrays a fabric designer who has to support his sisters. One of whom, Lettie (Geraldine Fitzgerald) uses her physical ailments  as a method of controlling her brother with whom she is in love. Unlike the play, because of the movie censorship of the time, the film is unable to present the incestuous aspect of Lettie and Harry’s relationship, concerning which Harry is consumed with guilt and remorse. Therefore subtle expressions and words get this message across to the audience while avoiding censorship. Even the ending of the movie had to be radically altered from that of the play to conform to censorship strictures of the times. Still, one gets the message!  Along comes Deborah Brown (Ella Raines) and she and Harry fall in love and plan to marry. Lettie is consumed with jealousy and goes to shocking extremes, including faking illness,  to prevent Harry’s marriage. This illness prevents Harry from leaving and marrying Deborah as planned and Deborah leaves in a fury. Harry would love to “get rid of” Lettie, but does he do so or not.? I won’t betray what happens next and spoil the movie for you.

The movie is well worth watching. George is cast completely against type by portraying a milk-toast character controlled by women (who could see that really happening!!) and plays the part beautifully. . In the movie you can see Deborah using techniques, as Lettie had, to control Harry. To quote the description from the blu-ray release  Uncle Harry “is a deceptively diabolical film, a cold-hearted  film noir  cloaked in the quaint atmosphere of a small-town romance.”

It is a quite interesting film and an unusual one for George. I encourage everyone to watch it.

HAPPY 108th MOST HANDSOME GEORGE–WISH YOU WERE HERE TO CELEBRATE WITH US!

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Hi George!
It seems such a short time since I published a post to you on your 107th birthday last July 3rd. I am delighted to still be around to write a post to celebrate your 108th !
I was reading the other day about a United States veteran who was 107 and I immediately thought of you and wished you could be here as this man still is. He looked ok for his age and I am SURE you would have been a very handsome 107. Sigh… miss you!
I have become a member of the American Film Institute in your honour. AFI website has a lot of information on the production of American films and I am busily compiling a file with that information about all your American films. I have checked the British Film Institute website seeking information about your British films but find no information there comparable to that found at AFI.

Yesterday I was re-reading your biography, “Memoirs of a Professional Cad” which you published in 1960 and I was struck by the way you casually denigrate yourself, such as on page 34 when you write “I never really thought I would make the grade. And let’s face I, I haven’t”.  This from a man who won an Academy Award for his performance in “All About Eve”! You were wonderful in all your films, even those you did not care about such as The Saint films. You were an excellent actor! It saddens me that you were so insecure.

I have often wondered, George, how you, and those who loved you, celebrated your birthday. Did you have big parties? Somehow I doubt that since you were such a private person. More than likely just you and a few close friends and loved ones had diner or something simple. I know how I would have wanted you and me to celebrate your birthday, George!

Older George, still so handsome and charming.

Older George, still so handsome and charming.

I am still struggling to master the new WordPress’ format, as well as Windows 8, and I apologize to you for not publishing a more elaborate birthday post for you. Never fear, I will get better. As with anything involving you I will obsessively strive for perfection!

My feelings about George

My feelings about George

I have some new ideas for more posts, such as one discussing various of your movies, such as “The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry”.

Harry and Deborah in love...

Harry and Deborah in love…

Also I am interested in preparing a post about the various hats you wore in different movies,

George dressed preposterously in "Lloyds of London" (1936).Note the hat

George dressed preposterously in “Lloyds of London” (1936).Note the hat

and one showing you dancing with various lucky women.

Lucky Gene and Handsome George seem to be enjoying themselves.

Lucky Gene and Handsome George seem to be enjoying themselves.

Look for these, George, this summer.
And always remember what Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

As you know, sweet George, these are my feelings for you!

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