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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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#41 TopBilled

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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).


#44 TopBilled

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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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Posted 09 December 2016 - 09:10 AM

#70: JOURNEY TO ITALY (1954)

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George Sanders took a break from Hollywood studio filmmaking when he went off to Europe to make this independent production with Ingrid Bergman and her husband Roberto Rossellini. He had previously costarred with Ingrid in 1941's RAGE IN HEAVEN. This time around they're more mature, wiser. They play a couple on vacation in Italy, dealing with the fact their marriage is falling apart. In the beginning they tour the Italian countryside together in a 1950 Bentley but soon separate. She then explores Naples on her own, and he goes off to Capri to be with other women. The absence of romance between them is a sore spot, and both are haunted by demons in their relationship-- including the fact they are childless. In the end, he comes back from Capri and they reunite, willing to start over as a couple and recapture the magic they once shared. This is one of George Sanders' very best films and is included in Steven Schneider's '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.'


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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 06 December 2016 - 10:43 AM

On another internet message board, someone said George Sanders' autobiography, Memoirs of a Professional Cad, was republished in paperback about a year ago. I looked it up on Amazon. It is very affordably priced and most of the customer reviews are quite favorable.


"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 December 2016 - 03:29 PM

#69: KING RICHARD AND THE CRUSADERS (1954)

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In the 1950s, costume dramas were in vogue. Since George Sanders was right at home in these kinds of motion pictures, his services remained highly in demand at the various studios. This time, he is third-billed but plays the title character-- King Richard the Lionhearted. In the story, he and other top European rulers are determined to take back Jerusalem from the Saracens, but the best laid plans may be thwarted by enemies within Richard's own court. A failed assassination attempt leaves the king near death, but he is saved by one of his knights (played by Laurence Harvey). Of course, there are other intrigues at the palace. A lovely lady (Virginia Mayo) is supposed to marry Richard, but she's fallen in love with the knight. What's a jilted king to do? Banish the knight, of course! Who cares if he saved your life. You must do what you have to in order to win and keep the girl.


"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 December 2016 - 07:22 PM

#68: WITNESS TO MURDER (1954)

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George Sanders was back to his villainous ways in this suspense thriller. Audiences were glad, because nobody could play a bad guy like George. Poor Barbara Stanwyck-- she was seriously out of her league, trying to convince the police she had witnessed a murder and that George had done it. Dear girl was no match for him, at least not at first. She wound up going to the looney bin for awhile. When she got out, she was still determined to prove she hadn't imagined what she had seen. She eventually succeeded, but it wasn't because she deserved to. George was simply bored playing cat-and-mouse with such a terribly hysterical amateur. He let her win, so he could get on to the next movie. 


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


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Posted 28 November 2016 - 08:30 AM

#67: CALL ME MADAM (1953)

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George Sanders appeared in only one film released in 1953 but it was a big one. After nearly two years on Broadway and 644 performances, Irving Berlin's crowd-pleaser had made it to the screen. Ethel Merman recreated her lead role as an ambassador sent to a foreign country, and she was joined by fellow musical stars Donald O'Connor and Vera-Ellen. In the fourth-billed role was George, not usually known for his work in this genre, though he had been in BITTER SWEET with Jeanette MacDonald thirteen years earlier. He plays General Cosmo Constantine, a part Paul Lukas did on stage. George has two numbers in the film-- he sings 'The Best Thing for You Would Be Me' with his leading lady; then he joins the rest of the cast for a rousing finale. He was not dubbed, and critics lauded his performance.

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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 24 November 2016 - 01:43 PM

#66: ASSIGNMENT: PARIS (1952)

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In September of 1952, George Sanders appeared in a cold war drama produced by Columbia Pictures. It was set in France and communist Hungary and filmed on location in those two countries. His costars were Dana Andrews and Marta Toren. George was cast as a newspaper editor from New York working in his company's Paris office. It was a non-sneering part-- kind of a lackluster role for him. The picture could be described as a by-the-numbers political thriller though it did contain some suspenseful moments. George's character was not too involved in the main action; most of that was saved for Andrews and Toren. They interview a Hungarian ambassador and are soon up to their necks in espionage and other dangerous activities. I suppose while they were doing that, George was on the phone with his agent requesting a better part in his next film.


"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 November 2016 - 03:16 PM

#65: IVANHOE (1952)

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The next film George Sanders appeared in was a lavish swashbuckler. It was MGM's version of Walter Scott's well-known tale of chivalry and sword-fighting. He was fourth-billed as Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert and his character had a dramatic battle to the death with Ivanhoe at the end of the picture. Unfortunately, he was killed off-- but he died with such flair, as only George Sanders could play it. The British-American picture made back three times its original budget and was the studio's highest grossing film of the year. Costars included Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Fontaine.


"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 November 2016 - 09:38 AM

#64: THE LIGHT TOUCH (1951)

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George Sanders was loaned by 20th Century Fox to MGM for two films during this time. One was released in 1951 and the other hit screens the following year. The '51 release was a Richard Brooks crime drama called THE LIGHT TOUCH, which allowed George to work with his friend Stewart Granger. Granger had just recently emigrated to Hollywood with wife Jean Simmons. In this picture, George was third-billed; he played a suave art thief in cahoots with Granger. After being double-crossed by Granger and an attractive girl (Pier Angeli), he was forced to resort to desperate measures to recover a valuable painting. Of course, the police would have other ideas.


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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 10 November 2016 - 11:49 AM

#63: I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE (1951)

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George Sanders made two films released in 1951. One was at his home studio 20th Century Fox and the other was at MGM. The Fox picture was a drama that starred Susan Hayward and Dan Dailey. It was essentially a vehicle for Hayward, but George (fresh off his Oscar win for ALL ABOUT EVE) had a very juicy supporting part. He played the influential J.F. Nobel, a wealthy owner of a chain of department stores. Noble knew what women would buy in the way of fashions, and he was considered very influential. He also used his power to convince a smart fashion designer (Hayward) to come work for him. Based on Jerome Weidman's novel, the story looked at the garment trade of New York City and how the most ambitious people made it to the top rung of success. Of course, Hayward's character soon learned there was a price for that type of success; and we could only wonder what George's character paid to wind up as he did.


"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 November 2016 - 11:02 AM

#62: CAPTAIN BLACKJACK (1950)

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It had been a while since George Sanders appeared in a film made outside the United States. His old friend Julien Duvivier, who had directed him in Fox's 1942 portmanteau TALES OF MANHATTAN, convinced him to appear as CAPTAIN BLACKJACK. It was a French-Spanish-American co-production filmed in English. The cast was quite extraordinary and included British actress Patricia Roc, as well as Herbert Marshall and Agnes Moorehead. The story is more of an action adventure yarn, with elements of noir. Miss Roc plays a socialite who is smuggling jewels on her yacht off the coast of the Riviera, and George turns up as a doctor that gets involved in her criminal misdeeds. We later find out George is no real doctor at all, but rather a detective who has gone undercover to bring the sexy woman and her cohorts to justice.


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





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