George Sings! In Russian! In “Summer Storm” (1944)

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This is my last post of 2011 and I hope you enjoy it. I had planned to do a post on George in “The Saint Takes Over” (1940) but change my mind and here is why.

I was looking at a photo I have of George from the movie “Summer Storm”(1944) and he  looked so d***ed handsome that I just had to watch the movie again. For some reason I had only watched it once–I think because he dies in it and I always hate that!  The movie is based on the novel “The Shooting Party” by Anton Chekhov.

The film, directed by Douglas Sirk, is a tale of power and passion in which a Russian siren, a peasant girl  played by Linda Darnell, who wants the finer things in life, sinks her hooks into a judge, played by the Gorgeous George Sanders, and a decadent aristocrat, played by Edward Everett Horton. While spreading her feminine wiles around she marries Horton’s estate superintendent, played by Hugo Haas.  Meanwhile she has seduced George (and who can blame her). George’s fiance, Nadena Kalenin, played by Anna Lee, sees Gorgeous Judge George kissing Lucky Linda and breaks off the engagement.

Darnell decides she can  do better than the superintendent so she tells Horton that her husband beats her. Horton gives her refuge while she goes about securing a divorce. She seduces Horton and he proposes to her. Gorgeous George, who is a close friend of Horton’s, finds this out and goes to a bar/cafe and gets drunk with one of his old girlfriends. It is while he is drinking in the bar that he sings a bar-type song in Russian.  He is magnificient!  I really don’t want to give away any more of the plot, suffice it to say Darnell is justifiably murdered.  I won’t say by whom because I think you would enjoy watching it.  Also, watching it is an opportunity to hear George use his fantastically beautiful voice to sing.  The movie is readily available.

Many times it is said that George sang on screen for the first time in “Call Me Madam” (1953). This isn’t true.  He sang “Home on the Range” while playing the guitar in the 1940 movie “Green Hell”.  He sang “Seeing Nellie Home”and one of the choruses of “Little Brown Jug” , playing the piano this time, in the 1945 movie “The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry”.  In the 1947 movie “The Private Affairs of Bel Ami”, he played the piano and sang a lullaby to the small daughter of the leading lady in the film. So I know there are at least four movies in which he sang before “Call Me Madam”.

Sorry there was not enough time to add live links.  Happy New Year to all George Sanders fans! It is so sad that George is not here to toast in the new year with us, but he is in our hearts…

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lasandra Surrett
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 23:33:52

    Does anyone know of any forums that discuss this issue in a lot more detail? I am intrigued.


    • Judy Robinson
      Jan 21, 2012 @ 19:39:44

      Sorry to be so long in responding, for some reason sillY WordPress had put this comment into “spam”. I am sorry I don’t know of any forums discussing this.


    • Judy Robinson
      Jan 21, 2012 @ 19:40:56

      Sorry to be so slow in responding to your comment but for some silly reason WordPress had put the comment into “spam”. Sorry I don’t know of any forums discussing this issue.


  2. Anne
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 01:49:31

    Dear Judy,
    I was hoping for a guestbook to express my deep regards for establishing the long-awaited website about George but in the end I found I couldn’t possibly ignore your entry about “Summer Storm”. Being a native speaker, I can say that the song you are referring to is actually a Russian folk song, some call it a romance, under the title of “Troika” (“Ай да тройка”). It tells the story of two lovers riding the above mentioned three horses’ carriage, the shy girl beign wooed, or should I say, seduced, by her beloved. To add another compliment to the seemingly endless list which Mr. Sanders well deserves, his Russian is amazing, almost perfect, the slightest difference in accent being, of course, the result of his lack of practice throughout the years. I thank you once again for your beauliful website of which I am a faithful follwer. Best wishes!


    • Judy Robinson
      Jan 21, 2012 @ 18:46:38

      I must look into how one gets a guestbook. Currently people just comment on the post. I am glad you like the site. I am a devoted fan of George Sanders and I wanted to get information on the real George Sanders, not the cinematic facade he used, out to the world. If you take a look at my first two posts I think you will see what I mean.


    • Judy Robinson
      Jan 21, 2012 @ 18:59:30

      Anne, thank you for the most interesting information about the song. Of course, as you probably know George was raised in Russia for the first nine years of his life before being sent to school in England so he was fluent in both Russian and English. He also earned a “first” in school for French and German. Then went he spent four years in South America he taught himself Spanish which I understand he spoke without a trace of an accent. What a remarkable man he was!


      • Anne
        Jan 22, 2012 @ 03:18:59

        To be frank, I’ve never read any of George’s biographies, not even mentioning his autobiogaphy. Unfortunately, I have good reasons for that, considering all the buying/shipping complications. I knew he was born in St. Petersburg but until very recently I’d thought he was an Englishman by birth (his perfect British accent). My story is a bit different. I am a rare occasion of old Hollywood movies fan which are few within our community, and I’ve known George for only a year or so, beginnig from “The House of the Seven Gables” which I obtained, ironically, to watch Mr. Vincent Price. Then there were other movies and, for the time being, I quite agreed with his public image as an actor, that is, suave, caddish, etc. Then a deeper insight into his movie parts left me with a strange notion that he was playing a sort of double game with the audience. It wasn’t long until I became amazed with what I’d seen in him – inner nobility, sincerity, kindness, compassion – very delicate, deep and understanding person whose interpretations of literary characters I praise beyond measure (I am engaged in sort of studies in theory of literature and always take great interest in such movies as, say, “The Picture” ). I guess, it was that which made me a true George Sanders fan, and how I came to love and appreciate him not only as a very talented actor but also as a person for it couldn’t be plain acting, rather an open heart. Well, I’ve already paid Mr. Sanders much more compliments that I intended originally but I just cannot stop when I’m at it. Truly amazing man he was.

    • kathy
      Jan 25, 2012 @ 20:52:19

      you may enjoy my video:

      And you MUST read vanderbeets’s biography…shame on you!!!!!



      • Judy Robinson
        Jan 28, 2012 @ 15:52:07

        Kathy, did you ever remember the name of the movie where George is walking around eyeballing the girls an where you have put photos of some of the women with which he had affairs? Your tribute is so touching that I still cry when I see it.

  3. Numbers Toyoshima
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 10:31:23

    Some truly good content on this internet site , regards for contribution.


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