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.

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!

“Another dreadful April, George–forty-two years after the first one”

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Well, there are no words sufficient to express the depression April brings. George you are so missed—more each year! I always wish that I could have known you and could have helped you to be happy.
A phrase from the song “All the Things You Are” tells us where you are now, George: “You are the angel glow that lights a star”. Actually, the lyrics of the song best expresses my feelings for you, George.

You are the promised kiss of springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song

You are the angel glow that lights a star
The dearest things I know are what you are
Some day my happy arms will hold you
And some day I’ll know that moment divine
When all the things you are, are mine.

There are many videos on YouTube with different people singing this song. I prefer Ella Fitzgerald, myself. I listen to her sing this while I am looking at a photo of you, George and I am transported to a different dimension!
There is nothing more to say during this saddest of months except “George, you are still in my heart, still much missed, and still much loved”

My next post about you, George, will be on a happy note.

Another birthday for most handsome George, Happy 107, Georgie

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Well, before I start singing Tantalizing George’s praises I want to provide a link to a delightful youtube tribute to most Virile George. The photos are great and the song so wonderfully expresses one’s feelings for Glamorous George through all the years. As years go by Seductive George continues to fascinate.

This is a difficult post to write because I don’t think it can be as good as his last birthday post. How can one top Elegant George’s description of his arrival on this lucky Earth! I guess I will just ramble on in a sort of a “free association”.

I don’t have any information about what Charming George did on his birthdays, or if he even paid any attention to them. If anybody out there has some information I would love to hear it. I suspect if Delightful George were here to celebrate his birthday with us he would love to be out on his boat. I know you saw the very happy look on his face in the slideshow photos of a most captivating “Captain George”. I know I would love to be out on the water with him! That brings to mind the scene in “Appointment In Berlin” in which Handsome George looks so very happy as he steers the speedboat and Lucky Marguerite has the opportunity to fall against his side–what a thrill that must have been for her!

I saw on television the other night that the oldest man in the world had died at 116 years of age. The guy was nine years old when our George was born! Well, we know that Darling George was very unhappy the last years of his life so he never would have wanted to make it to 116.

Although Hunky George was born a tad earlier than I , we do have some similarities in our birthdays: George was born on a Tuesday at 6 am and I was born on a Tuesday at 5:30 am. As you know “Tuesday’s child is full of grace” and Suave George was definitely that.

As I have said MANY times before: there is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be a man as handsome, sexy, desirable, brilliant, witty, and talented as the inimitable, irreplaceable George Henry Sanders. The song “Unforgettable” as sung by Nat “King” Cole could have been written to describe Bewitching George. The lyrics are perfect for him. I would love to hear George sing “Unforgettable” with his beautiful voice. I probably would faint!

Well, one last bit of my musings. I have an article that George wrote for the April 1961 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. The article is “There’s a Lot To Like About Women” and it is written in George’s usual witty, eloquent style. What struck me most about the article was the last sentence where George writes “After all, we live in a hard, cruel world, and the softest and most endearing thing to be found in it still remains a woman”. This should put to rest any thought that George was a woman hater. It is also revealing that he should refer to the world as “a hard, cruel world”.

I will end this post as I did George’s birthday post last year: I hope all of you will join me in toasting George with a dry vodka martini on his 107 Birthday on Wednesday, July 3rd! Cheers, George, and the “best of British luck” to you!
We love you and we miss you!

You are always in our thoughts, George…

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It is always so difficult to select which photos of Handsome George to put in the slideshow, they are all so beautiful.  This slideshow is called “George Through the Years”.  Sometimes older but always divinely handsome.

I know I repeat myself from last year, but his is just so appropriate.

The Burial of the Dead

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain…”

The Waste Land

T.S. Eliot

This too, is appropriate:

“Will you not come home, brother? you have been long away,
It’s April, and blossom time, and white is the spray;
And bright is the sun, brother, and warm is the rain, -­
Will you not come home, brother, home to us again?”

John Masefield, The West Wind.

For the religious among us there are these somewhat comforting words as drawn together at ChristianAnswers.net:

Resurrection of the dead

The resurrection of the dead will be simultaneous both of the just and the unjust (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28, 29; Rom. 2:6-16; 2 Thess. 1:6-10). The qualities of the resurrection body will be different from those of the body laid in the grave (1 Cor. 15:53, 54; Phil. 3:21); but its identity will nevertheless be preserved. It will still be the same body (1 Cor. 15:42-44) which rises again.

The nature of the resurrection body

1.It will be spiritual (1 Cor. 15:44), i.e., a body adapted to the use of the soul in its glorified state, and to all the conditions of the heavenly state. 2.glorious, incorruptible, and powerful (54) 3.like unto the glorified body of Christ (Phil. 3:21) 4.immortal (Rev. 21:4)

And two last bits of religiousity. This taken from the service for the Burial of the Dead in the 1928 “Book of Common Prayer” of the Episcopal church.

“O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered; Accept our prayers on behalf of the soul of thy servant departed, and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

This last is from the service for those buried at sea. Because George’s ashes were scattered in the English Channel I wanted to include this.

“Unto Almighty God we commend the soul of our brother departed, and we commit his [ashes] to the deep; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the sea shall give up her dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.”

For those amoung you who are not religious I hope the beauty of the language itself will bring some comfort.

This last part is taken from an article in an online magazine.   (http://www.wildriverreview.com/essay/april-is-cruel/davis-lauren)

The author writes about the suicide of her two brothers. The article is well worth reading. I am quoting from the last part of the article which sets forth a more hopeful outlook:

“Although April may be the cruelest month, it is also the month of renewal and rebirth, during which death is overcome and life returns. And here I circle round again to T.S. Eliot, who also said:

So the darkness shall be light, and the stillness the dancing. Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning. The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry, The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony Of death and birth.

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets, East Coker”

George, know always that we will continue to love you and to pray for you—and to miss you.

George’s career as a screen detective, part 5, “The Saint In Palm Springs”

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At long last here is the promised post to complete the discussion of Glamorous George as The Saint.

RKO released “The Saint in Palm Springs” in early 1941. Comely George had just begun to  have his hair cut shorter and with a part on the right.  It is SO short you can barely see his pretty curls! 😦  I believe this is the first movie Lovely George filmed after he introduced the “new look” of his hair because in the other films released in 1941 his hair was slightly longer. Check out  Rage in Heaven,   Man Hunt,   Sundown,  and  The Gay Falcon  and you will see.  In Palm Springs if you look closely at Dazzling George (and who wouldn’t 😀 ) in some scenes you can see his cute little cowlick.

I was curious to see if Palm Springs really was the first Handsome George film released in 1941 so I checked the release dates  for all the 1941 films and I AM correct.  Palm Springs , which was filmed from 1 October 1940 to 11 November  1940, was released on 24 January  1941,  Rage on 7  March 1941, Man Hunt on 13 June 1941, Gay Falcon on 24 October 1941, and Sundown on 31 October 1941.

In addition to the plot synopsis on the IMDb, to which I referred you  in the link above,  there is a very nice overview presented on the Turner Classic Movies database.  Also, TCM has an article about Saint George and Palm Springs, presumably because the movie will be airing on TCM in December.  Charteris described The Saint as being  “imperturbable, debonair [and] preposterously handsome”. Certainly Stunningly Handsome George was made for the part because this description fits him perfectly–particularly the preposterously handsome part!

Wendy Barrie appears again as Alluring George’s love interest  in this her third Saint movie.  Lucky girl!!  However, poor Wendy does not get a kiss in this movie but  watch for the scene in which Seductive George, after he and Wendy  have dinner, woos her on the patio.  It is a yummy scene.  See if you don’t agree with me.

We only see Inspector Fernack  (Jonathan Hale)  briefly at the beginning of the film when he explains to George how he needs The Saint’s help.(note that Fernack seems to have grown some new hair–no wait, he is wearing a hairpiece 🙂 )  It seems that Fernack’s old war buddy, Chris Johnson, from WWI, who had saved Fernack’s life, now needs Fernack’s assistance.   Chris had used his personal fortune to purchase three very rare Guiana penny stamps and had his brother, Peter, smuggle them out of the country to bring to the United States and deliver to Chris’ daughter, Elna (played by Wendy),  in California.  Two attempts had been made on Peter’s life since his arrival in the US and Fernack wants The Saint to escort the Peter and the stamps to California to give to  Elna.  Saint George is reluctant until Fernack tells him about the murder attempts.  Intrigued by the adventurous aspects of the situation, and smelling a whiff of danger, Intrepid George agrees to undertake the mission.

Good-Looking George arrives at Peter’s hotel room.  After some discussion Peter goes to the bedroom safe to retrieve the stamps, leaving Pulchritudinous George sitting on the sofa in the living room.  While getting the stamps Peter is shot to death and the villian enters through the window to be met by Corageous George. They engage in fisticuffs but the villian escapes.  Fernack is called in and Fearless George leaves to deliver the  stamps to Elna in Palm Springs.

In the scenes setting up the plot we get to see Dapper George in his new, white trench coat, in which he looks darling.  I know it is new because  I take careful note of coats that Fashionable George wears and this is the earliest movie in which he wears this particular coat.  You also can tell that it is new because in the scene with Peter at the hotel George has a little difficulty removing the coat because it is somewhat tight, as new coats tend to be.   We see this coat again in later movies such as Rage In Heaven Appointment In Berlin ,  and Lured.

Paul Guilfoyle   makes his second appearance as Pearly Gates.  This time Pearly is the house detective at the Palm Springs hotel where George and Margaret Forbes, whose acquaintance Charming George cultivated on the train trip to Palm Springs– well,  you know George’s fondness for lovely women– are staying.  Margaret Forbes ( Linda Hayes) is actually an agent from the country from which the stamps were smuggled and is intent on getting them from Gorgeous George.  The murderer of Peter is  staying at the hotel with his gang and is also seeking the stamps.   I won’t go into further details about the plot but will simply say that the stamps are stolen from George but, of course, he recovers them and delivers them to Elna, whose heart has been stolen by Enticing George.   Naturally, she is left watching sadly as Sexy George rides out of her life.

Palm Springs is a fun movie to watch.  It is such a pleasure to see George having a good time, riding a bike, riding a horse, and playing tennis.  George  soundly trounces  Wendy on the tennis court, and SHE is a tennis teacher.  Well, she was probably so mesmerized by Sinfully Handsome George that she was unable to watch the correct ball.  🙂  I sure would have been!  George is gorgeous in his tennis outfit with that nice white t-shirt that shows clearly what glorious shoulders George has!  And Statuesque George’s  legs are so long that he just steps over the tennis net. What a Man!

Well, enough about The Saint.  I wll be writing some posts about The Falcon series soon, but first I have some thoughts for two other, possibly shorter, posts.  The restored version of  Journey to Italy  will be shown at the National Gallery of Art Theatre  here in Washington on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14.  Naturally I will be going to both showings.  The movie was restored by  L’Immagine ritrovata, Bologna  , in collaboration with CSC—Cineteca Nazionale, Rome .  I am hoping the restored version will be released on dvd in the near future.  I have sent an email to a press officer at CSC—Cineteca Nazionale, Rome  asking if they plan to do so.

Also I have found out that Journey  was shown at the Cannes Film Festival   last May.

Anyway, all this has inspired me to write a post discussing this movie and the first movie George made with Ingrid, Rage In Heaven , in 1941.  The second post will be one about the movies featuring European George with the buzz cut.

 

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