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!

“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!

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