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…