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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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Posted 08 March 2017 - 04:25 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. 


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


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Posted 05 March 2017 - 11:49 AM

#86: CONE OF SILENCE (1960)

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In this film George Sanders plays a smarmy attorney representing a large European airline corporation. The company has been accused of faulty design when a jet crashes and kills passengers on board. Of course, the executives want to protect their business, so they employ George to shift the blame and "prove" in a court of law the crash was the result of pilot error. A British production featuring Peter Cushing and a strong cast of character actors, it opened to generally positive reviews. Somehow the drama has been forgotten among George's many films, but it is worth finding and watching. The American release title is TROUBLE IN THE SKY.


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


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Posted 27 February 2017 - 04:30 PM

#85: BLUEBEARD'S TEN HONEYMOONS (1960)

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If you're a producer and you've got a script where the main character seduces and kills lonely middle-aged women for their money, and it's 1960, you know which actor to call and offer the part to. Yes, you dial 1-800-SANDERS. You hope he's home and willing to answer the phone. You tell him there's a decent salary. Plus he can work with gorgeous leading ladies like Corinne Calvet, Patricia Roc and Jean Kent. You tell him the director will be Billy Wilder's brother and it will be filmed in England. You tell him he will have as much fun as he can possibly imagine. You tell him, by George, he is just perfect for this role and he must agree to do it. And if he doesn't do it, then Vincent Price will be more happy to step in.


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"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 February 2017 - 04:18 PM

#84: THE LAST VOYAGE (1960)

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George was back on screen in this MGM crowd-pleasing disaster film. In support of leads Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone, he portrayed an arrogant captain refusing to acknowledge a luxury liner bound for America is sinking. Convinced they can avert a real calamity, he ignores suggestions they evacuate the ship until it's almost too late. The story, directed by Andrew L. Stone, was in part based on the real-life sinking of the S.S. Andrea Doria several years earlier. THE LAST VOYAGE garnered praise from critics, especially for its realistic violence. The actual ship used for the movie was destroyed on camera-- there were no phony special effects.


"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 February 2017 - 10:19 AM

#83: A TOUCH OF LARCENY (1960)

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This film was released at the end of 1959 in Britain and found its way to North American screens in early 1960. James Mason plays a military officer who makes it seem like he's selling secrets to the Russians so he can sue the newspapers for libel. He falls in love with a woman (Vera Miles) who happens to be engaged to a stuffy English aristocrat-- you guessed it, George Sanders. When George's character catches wind of the scheme, he sets out to expose Mason in order to keep the guy away from Miles. The clever screenplay was nominated for a BAFTA award. Critic Pauline Kael describes it as a pleasant adult comedy that should be better known.


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


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Posted 10 February 2017 - 03:56 AM

In a week I will start on George Sanders in the 60s.


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


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Posted 08 February 2017 - 12:56 PM

#82: SOLOMON AND SHEBA (1959)

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George had a real meaty role in this biblical epic based on events depicted in the tenth chapter of First Kings and the ninth chapter of Second Chronicles. He played Adonijah, one of King David's sons, who attempts to usurp the throne. Of course, this puts him into direct conflict with Solomon (Yul Brynner), the intended heir. Adonijah seems to make amends with Solomon and is apparently forgiven, until there is another overthrow attempt. That time Adonijah is put to death. The production was filmed in Europe, and it originally starred George's longtime Fox cast mate Tyrone Power. But during a scene with George, Power took ill and collapsed on the set. He died soon after from a fatal heart attack, and Brynner then stepped in as a replacement. Despite the real-life drama that had occurred, producer Edward Small managed to get the picture back on track and it went on to become one of the year's biggest hits.


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


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Posted 04 February 2017 - 05:03 AM

#81: THAT KIND OF WOMAN (1959)

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This film is the third one directed by Sidney Lumet. It focuses on a kept woman (Sophia Loren) who meets a handsome young soldier (Tab Hunter) during the days of WWII and falls in love. George Sanders plays the man who basically owns and exploits Loren. It's more of an extended cameo for George than anything else, and he's actually six-billed in the Paramount picture. In a much smaller role is Bea Arthur who makes an uncredited debut as a WAC with lesbian tendencies. Despite all the talent involved, the film did not do well with audiences and critics who were likely turned off by its early anti-establishment tone.


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


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Posted 26 January 2017 - 04:34 PM

#80: FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON (1958)

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George was cast in this adaptation of the popular Jules Vernes novel. He was back at RKO for what would be one of the studio's very last films. In fact, during production RKO went out of operation-- meaning the budget was abruptly cut; and the ending had to be changed. Instead of them arriving on the moon, the finale takes place before they get there; and the special effects, needless to say, were severely compromised due to a sudden lack of funds. Director Byron Haskins managed to finish the picture, and it was sold off to Warner Brothers for distribution. George is second-billed, playing a religious zealot who feels Joseph Cotten's rocket heading to the moon goes against God's will. As he attempts to thwart the mission, his daughter (Debra Paget) is caught in the showdown.


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


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Posted 20 January 2017 - 02:03 AM

George Sanders lights up the screen tonight on TCM:

 

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9:30 p.m. The Saint Strikes Back (1939)

10:45 p.m. The Saint in London (1939)

12:15 a.m. The Saint’s Double Trouble (1940)

1:30 a.m. The Saint in Palm Springs (1941)


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


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Posted 19 January 2017 - 08:47 AM

A reminder-- TCM is airing an evening of Saint movies tomorrow night (January 20th). 

 

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


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Posted 15 January 2017 - 01:43 PM

#79: THE WHOLE TRUTH (1958)

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There were four things George Sanders liked doing-- he liked going to the Riviera, he liked marrying the Gabor sisters, he liked working with friends, and he liked being a cad. In this film, he gets to do three out of four. He plays a cold-blooded publisher determined to set up pal Stewart Granger for murder. This is because Granger, who is already married to sweet Donna Reed, has been having an affair with Sanders' sexy Italian wife. In a terrible rage, George makes 'till death do us part' a chilling reality; then he begins to gaslight Granger. Aiding him indirectly is Reed's belief that her own husband may have done it. The film was a British production from Columbia, and George gives a performance that is right up there with Addison DeWitt.  


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


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Posted 10 January 2017 - 01:21 PM

#78: THE SEVENTH SIN (1957)

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There was only one George Sanders film in movie theaters during 1957. This is because the actor had done a 13-week summer replacement TV series, then took a bit of a break. But when he came back, he had a key role in this MGM adaptation of Somerset Maugham's 'The Painted Veil.' The studio had previously filmed it in 1934 with Greta Garbo and Herbert Marshall playing a married couple on the brink of divorce. The remake featured Eleanor Parker and Bill Travers in those roles, with George playing an expanded supporting character named Waddington. George is essentially portraying a self-absorbed boozer and he gets to steal scenes left and right. In other words, this job was custom made for him. The original motion picture was a disappointment, and this later version also did not fare well with audiences. 


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


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Posted 06 January 2017 - 11:22 AM

#77: DEATH OF A SCOUNDREL (1956)

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The next film for George Sanders was kind of a 'family affair.' It featured his older brother, actor Tom Conway, in a minor role. It was the last time they acted together-- the first time was back in THE FALCON'S BROTHER. After this, Conway's alcoholism caused a schism between the two siblings and sadly, they would remain estranged. Another notable costar in this RKO production was George's ex-wife Zsa Zsa Gabor. She portrayed one of the women that his character went through like water. Not sure if Zsa Zsa ever considered George a scoundrel in real life; it's doubtful since she was working with him on a movie two years after their divorce. The story itself was based on the life of noted financier Serge Rubinstein who died under very mysterious circumstances. 


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


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Posted 02 January 2017 - 05:00 PM

#76: THAT CERTAIN FEELING (1956)

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The next project for George Sanders found him costarring at Paramount with Bob Hope and Eva Marie Saint. It was a refreshing change of pace for the actor, giving him a third-billed role in a comedy and allowing him to play a lighter character. The original Broadway production was called 'King of Hearts' and had run for 279 performances in 1954. In the stage version, Donald Cook played the character assigned to George in the movie. He was a cartoonist who seems to be going through an unproductive period, so he hires a ghost writer (Hope) to help punch things up. The situation becomes complicated when the woman George intends to marry (Saint) used to be the ghost writer's ex-wife. That's Jerry Mathers in the picture above, playing the little boy in the story, one year before his breakthrough role as Beaver Cleaver. 


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


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Posted 29 December 2016 - 09:07 PM

#75: WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956)

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The next motion picture in which George Sanders appeared was Fritz Lang's hard-hitting noir WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS. It was released by RKO and used recycled props from CITIZEN KANE, which had been produced fifteen years earlier. George was third-billed and part of a very impressive cast. The ensemble included people like Ida Lupino, Howard Duff, Dana Andrews and Rhonda Fleming. In the story George portrayed a wire service chief competing with a newspaper editor as developments unfolded in the reporting of a serial killer's latest crimes. It was based on a real-life case that had happened a decade earlier in New York, known as the Lipstick Killer. 


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


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Posted 26 December 2016 - 07:34 PM

#74: NEVER SAY GOODBYE (1956)

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In 1956 George Sanders appeared in four motion pictures and three television shows. His first television appearance had been a year earlier for The 20th Century Fox Hour where he played Waldo Lydecker in a remake of LAURA. Now George had signed to do a melodrama for Universal which starred Rock Hudson and European actress Cornel Borchers. Though uncredited, the film was co-directed by George's friend Douglas Sirk. George played Borchers' boyfriend and partner in a nightclub act. Borchers had been married to Hudson during the war but the marriage ended, and Hudson told their daughter that Borchers had died. Of course, the teen daughter (Shelley Fabares) eventually finds out her mother is very much alive. George and the other adults all try to do what's right and noble by the impressionable girl, even if it means sacrificing their own happiness.


"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 December 2016 - 02:04 AM

#73: THE SCARLET COAT (1955)

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In July there was a new George Sanders picture in theaters. It was this patriotic drama for MGM, directed by John Sturges. George portrayed a loyalist named Dr. John Odell, a man who had tried to thwart an uprising against the British in the late 1700s. Odell was a physician and a poet. His poems were well-known and written in support of the crown. Costars in this lavish production included Cornel Wilde, Michael Wilding and Anne Francis. On screen these three were involved in a love triangle, with Anne Francis warning her suitors about George's plans to set a trap for them. Of course, the Americans would manage to gain their independence from England, and while forming their new government, George's character was driven north. He was soon appointed to oversee a Canadian post as recognition for his loyalty to the mother country.


"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 December 2016 - 09:14 PM

#72: MOONFLEET (1955)

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The next film George Sanders made in '55 was an MGM adventure tale set in the 18th century. The project reunited him on screen with Stewart Granger and it gave him another chance to work with director Fritz Lang. Lang had previously directed George in 1941's wartime thriller MAN HUNT. The story for MOONFLEET involved a young orphan (Jon Whiteley) mixed up with a group of smugglers in Dorset County, England. While not a huge hit in its day, the film has earned the praise of critics in the years since its release. Editors of the French film periodical Cahiers du Cinema regard it as an essential costume drama and one of Lang's very best. 


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


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Posted 13 December 2016 - 07:16 PM

#71: JUPITER'S DARLING (1955)

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In February 1955 George Sanders appeared in this expensive MGM musical with Howard Keel and Esther Williams. He played Roman general Fabius Maximus and received fifth billing. It was the first of four he did for Metro in '55; all of them were period pictures, and he had key supporting roles in each production. JUPITER'S DARLING had such an extraordinary budget it failed to make back its costs at the box office. It signaled the end of Williams' career at the studio, as well as leading man Howard Keel-- lavish musicals were now thought to be risky ventures. George sang one song with vocalist Jo Ann Greer, who dubbed Williams' musical numbers. But the tune, 'I Had a Dream,' was cut. Almost twenty years later an outtake would be included as part of the studio's retrospective on musicals (THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!). In addition to filming interiors on an MGM soundstage, George and his costars did outdoor scenes on Catalina Island as well as in Florida.


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





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