George as the “Consummate Cad”, Part I

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In many of George’s 110 films he played the role for which he is best known–that of “The Cad”. Of course this was just a role he played but he incorporated it into his personal image because of the publicity this engendered. As I have written earlier in the post “George Loved Women, Really..”, George frequently elaborated on his screen images for the notoriety it brought.

George played many types of cads, from the “real rotter”  in Rebecca (1940)   which I discuss in this post, to  a “woman manipulating” cad as in Her Cardboard Lover (1942), to a cad using women’s love for professional advancement as in The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947), to the gentle, womanizing cad in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947).

Although not George”s first cad role, which was Lloyd’s of London (1936),      probably his best known and most “caddish” role was that of a “real rotter” in the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca. His portrayal of Jack Favell was masterful. He was such a blackguard that you want to slap him but at the same time want to kiss him because he is so handsome and sexy. His performance completely outshown  that of Olivier.  One aspect of his performance that I found intriguing is that he pitched his voice a tiny bit higher than his usual voice and that he talked with just the slightest drawl.  It is very effective.  One scene which I found particularly amusing is the one in which Olivier hits George in the chin and knocks him down.   As if  THAT  could happen! George must have been hard pressed not to laugh!

In Rebecca George plays the favorite cousin of Olivier’s first wife, the beautiful Rebecca, with whom George had an affair. George THINKS that Rebecca was pregnant and Olivier found out, and knowing that the child was George’s, killed Rebecca. I don’t want to go into the plot any further and spoil it for you. It is the usual marvellous Hitchcock production and I know you would enjoy seeing it.  Of course, the movie is set in England

His performance as Favell earned George much critical acclaim and, I believe is what got him his role in a second Hitchcock movie that year, Foreign Correspondent  . In this film he got to play a “good chap”, which, after all, he really was. I was planning to discuss the other films mentioned above but I will save them for another post.  🙂

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy
    Sep 22, 2016 @ 15:08:11

    Lovely text on Rebecca my favourite scene is when he gets into the carriage with Olivier and Joan he eats a chicken drum stick throws it out the window and you can hear it hit the concrete


    • Judy Robinson
      Sep 23, 2016 @ 16:33:47

      It is interesting to me how many women fell for George in Rebecca when he was The Cad. But oh what a handsome cad! Who could resist him? I sometimes think that George was at his hottest in 1939-40. But then he never lost IT did he?


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