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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Ultimate GEORGE SANDERS thread


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#1 TopBilled

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 01:27 PM

#97: A SHOT IN THE DARK (1964)

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George Sanders may have earned an Oscar for dramatic work but one gets the feeling he enjoyed making comedies a bit more. In the 60s he had the chance to play a variety of amusing characters, usually in farces that involved some sort of major crime. In the sequel to THE PINK PANTHER, he gets to share scenes with Peter Sellers, who as Clouseau, is inspecting a series of murders that take place on George's lavish estate. A SHOT IN THE DARK was rushed into production on the heels of the first film's overwhelming success and it was actually not intended to be a sequel (the main character was not Clouseau), but it was revised to fit the Pink Panther format. It was a huge success-- probably George's biggest film of the decade after VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. And I'll be damned but he's quite good in it too.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#2 TopBilled

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 08:26 AM

#96: THE GOLDEN HEAD (1964)

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After making crime comedies with Terry-Thomas and Charlie Drake, George Sanders teamed up with Buddy Hackett for another one. This time he plays a crook trying to steal a priceless golden bust from a cathedral in Hungary. At the same time there's a convention going on for investigators. So while police and detectives are occupied at the convention, it is up to their children to nab the crooks and recover the stolen object. THE GOLDEN HEAD was filmed on location in Hungary and had two directors. The second director, Richard Thorpe, had begun in the silent film days and was near the end of his career. Originally Hayley Mills was announced to play one of the kids; if she hadn't left the project, it would have been a reunion for her and George, who both worked together on Disney's IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#3 TopBilled

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 09:17 PM

#95: DARK PURPOSE (1964)

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In 1964 George Sanders made a melodrama called L'INTRIGO (THE INTRIGUE). It was marketed in North America as DARK PURPOSE; and though it was filmed in Italy, it had an American director and a cast that mostly spoke English. In the story George plays an art appraiser who goes to a count's villa with a lovely female assistant. Rossano Brazzi is the count, and Shirley Jones is the assistant. Soon Brazzi and Jones fall in love, but Brazzi is married to someone else (Giorgia Moll); and things get very complicated. George seems fairly sidelined since much of the action involves the three younger leads. Despite a routine script, DARK PURPOSE benefits from Gabor Pogany's striking cinematography-- though in a print that aired on TCM not long ago, there were obvious issues with the editing and the sound. The film was not a success, but at least George was able to spend several weeks in Italy making it. You might call it a paid vacation.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:52 PM

#94: THE CRACKSMAN (1963)

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In this film George Sanders costarred with Charlie Drake. At just 5'1, the diminutive Drake (who resembled Mickey Rooney) was a towering comedy star in Britain during the 60s. He had taken over in the vein of Norman Wisdom, whose own style of clowning had impressed the master (Chaplin). Because Drake's slapstick was immensely popular with kids, this assignment brought George back to the attention of younger audiences (probably the same moviegoers who watched the Hayley Mills movie). In THE CRACKSMAN, George plays a crime boss named Guv'nor who teams up with Drake to pull a con. To say they make an incongruous couple of crooks is putting it mildly. There are plenty of sight gags and of course the customary dry British humor. 

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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#5 TopBilled

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 09:41 AM

#93: CAIRO (1963)

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For his next motion picture, George Sanders collaborated with Wolf Rilla again, the same director he had worked with three years earlier on VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. This time around George plays a British major who plans a daring heist in Cairo. The goal is to rob a museum which houses King Tut's jewels and various other artifacts. A cast of shady characters is in on the deal, and the caper goes off perfectly until an alarm inside the museum is triggered. They make a getaway but not before one of the men has been shot. The police close in on several suspects, and things really fall apart when a double cross is attempted. By the end of the picture, practically everyone is dead except George. Eventually he gets caught during a police raid, while he's admiring a belly dancer. His best laid plans to flee the country have suddenly gone belly up.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#6 TopBilled

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 09:26 AM

The scene at the end, when Sanders shuts off his mind, engaging in a battle of will power against the children so as to defeat them, is simply superb. 

 

Great comment. A star at the top of his game.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#7 cinemaspeak59

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:30 PM

 

#87: VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960)

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At the tail end of 1960 George Sanders returned to motion picture screens in a big way. He was headlining a British science fiction horror film that would quickly become a cult classic, lead to a sequel and inspire countless rip-offs. The MGM production was directed by Wolf Rilla, was written by noted screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, and made back seven times its budget. To say VILLAGE was a runaway hit is a gross understatement. In the story George plays Gordon Zellaby, a man who's concerned when local women start producing children that grow fast and have similar eerie characteristics. Within a short period of time, the entire community begins to experience several strange phenomena. Because of the kids' deep penetrating eyes, people start doing things they wouldn't normally do. Moviegoers were under their spell too-- the children kept telling people to come back and watch the film again. 

 

The scene at the end, when Sanders shuts off his mind, engaging in a battle of will power against the children so as to defeat them, is simply superb. 


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#8 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:26 PM

Wasn't yesterday evening a thrill for all George Sanders fans.  Death of a Scoundrel was absolutely so George.  I almost had the feeling I was watching the real George but just against a movie set.  The plot fit him to a tee...and next to The Picture of Dorian Grey I couldn't say any other movie fit his personality so exactly.  

 

I can see, too, why his marriage to ZsaZsa didn't last, there is absolutely no chemistry between the two...both in the movie and out of it they were simply calculating personalities.  I had never seen that particular movie so it was great fun watch.   Pure enjoyment. 

 

While I have seen both films multiple times I saw them again yesterday.   Yes, pure enjoyment.


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#9 Emily Dean

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:49 AM

Wasn't yesterday evening a thrill for all George Sanders fans.  Death of a Scoundrel was absolutely so George.  I almost had the feeling I was watching the real George but just against a movie set.  The plot fit him to a tee...and next to The Picture of Dorian Grey I couldn't say any other movie fit his personality so exactly.  

 

I can see, too, why his marriage to ZsaZsa didn't last, there is absolutely no chemistry between the two...both in the movie and out of it they were simply calculating personalities.  I had never seen that particular movie so it was great fun watch.   Pure enjoyment. 


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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:53 PM

#92: IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS (1962)

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IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS was the only live-action Disney movie George Sanders made, and he plays the villain. He's cast as a dangerous gun runner responsible for the disappearance of a seafaring captain. The captain's daughter (Hayley Mills) tries to find her father; along the way she receives the assistance of a kindly professor (Maurice Chevalier) and falls in love with a boy her age. George's character does not appear until an hour after the movie starts--it is only 98 minutes long, which means his role is basically a glorified cameo. The action adventure yarn is based on a Jules Verne story. Disney had previously adapted another Verne story (20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA). Hayley Mills was at the height of her popularity, and IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS was the year's third-highest grossing flick in the U.S.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 01 April 2017 - 08:21 AM

My having paid admission to this film, 16 times, between 1960 and 1961, added greatly to its box office.  It was a major obsession with me, during its theatrical release.  I've seen it countless times, since.

 

Great post. Like we're doing movie testimonials! 


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#12 johnm001

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 08:39 PM

 

#87: VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960)

screen-shot-2017-03-08-at-6-16-53-pm2.pn

At the tail end of 1960 George Sanders returned to motion picture screens in a big way. He was headlining a British science fiction horror film that would quickly become a cult classic, lead to a sequel and inspire countless rip-offs. The MGM production was directed by Wolf Rilla, was written by noted screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, and made back seven times its budget. To say VILLAGE was a runaway hit is a gross understatement. In the story George plays Gordon Zellaby, a man who's concerned when local women start producing children that grow fast and have similar eerie characteristics. Within a short period of time, the entire community begins to experience several strange phenomena. Because of the kids' deep penetrating eyes, people start doing things they wouldn't normally do. Moviegoers were under their spell too-- the children kept telling people to come back and watch the film again. 

 

My having paid admission to this film, 16 times, between 1960 and 1961, added greatly to its box office.  It was a major obsession with me, during its theatrical release.  I've seen it countless times, since.


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Posted 28 March 2017 - 05:04 PM

#91: OPERATION SNATCH (1962)

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Continuing in light-hearted films, George Sanders teamed up with British comedian Terry-Thomas for his next screen adventure. This time he played a major overseeing a wacky officer (T-T) on Gibraltar. In addition to troops stationed there during WWII, the military must oversee a group of apes (I told you it was a comedy). Mixed up in the action are some Nazis and of course, a propaganda scheme involving the apes. During the story the men and the apes are protected from the enemy, and not surprisingly, everyone's morale is boosted. Including George's.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 22 March 2017 - 06:41 PM

#90: LE RENDEZ-VOUS (1961)

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At this point in George Sanders' screen career, he was eager to try something different. So he went to France and made a film with well-known director Jean Delannoy. Delannoy specialized in family dramas that had noir-like characteristics and in some ways he's been compared to Douglas Sirk. George was cast in this production as an oil magnate who has a complex relationship with his grown son. George speaks fluent French in the picture and is not dubbed. However, in the English-language version he is dubbed, by another actor-- so go figure! Also, in the English version he is billed first, but he is listed as a supporting player in the French version. The story is based on Patrick Quentin's novel 'The Man with Two Wives.'


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 18 March 2017 - 03:25 PM

#89: THE REBEL (1961)

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George Sanders did another comedy in his next screen outing. It was a modestly budgeted British production starring comedian Tony Hancock. This time George plays a stuffy art critic who blasts Hancock's "serious" attempt at becoming a highly regarded painter. The story is a jab at both bourgeoisie and bohemian cultures and was directed by Robert Day. Audiences at the time appreciated the filmmakers' parody, and it became the sixth-most successful motion picture in England the year of its release. It was distributed in North America as CALL ME GENIUS.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:49 PM

I have no objections to giving films a second fair chance. Maybe that time I was just in the wrong mood for this movie.

 

Maybe I was just expecting something very different from Sanders.

 

That's very possible. Well, if you get a chance to see it again, let us know if your initial impressions changed.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#17 kjrwe

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 01:22 AM

He might seem miscast if he's not playing a cad. LOL But I found him to be very effective, and he provided a good contrast to Geraldine Fitzgerald. It's one of those films that was forced to have a different ending than the stage play upon which it was based, in order to please the production code office. But the revised conclusion gives it a truly Hitchcockian twist. 

 

I have no objections to giving films a second fair chance. Maybe that time I was just in the wrong mood for this movie.

 

Maybe I was just expecting something very different from Sanders.


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Posted 13 March 2017 - 07:18 PM

I really wanted to like The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, but I just couldn't get into it. Honestly, I thought that Sanders was miscast in that movie. 

 

I haven't seen the other one you mentioned.

 

He might seem miscast if he's not playing a cad. LOL But I found him to be very effective, and he provided a good contrast to Geraldine Fitzgerald. It's one of those films that was forced to have a different ending than the stage play upon which it was based, in order to please the production code office. But the revised conclusion gives it a truly Hitchcockian twist. 


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#19 kjrwe

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 07:04 PM

Yes, he was. I'd say my favorite George Sanders films are THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI and THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY. He's the lead in both, he's in his prime, and you can see the full range of skills on display in both those performances. 

 

I really wanted to like The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, but I just couldn't get into it. Honestly, I thought that Sanders was miscast in that movie. 

 

I haven't seen the other one you mentioned.



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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:15 PM

I loved him in both All About Eve and Lured.

 

He seemed a bit tired in Witness to Murder, in my opinion.

 

He was enjoyable as the Saint and as the Falcon.

 

Very talented actor!

 

Yes, he was. I'd say my favorite George Sanders films are THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI and THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY. He's the lead in both, he's in his prime, and you can see the full range of skills on display in both those performances. 


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).





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