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Scads of Cads, Con Men and Scoundrels


CaveGirl
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Now a cad in real life might not be the cat's meow, but in films they are devastatingly attractive occasionally. A cad or con man could be a simple Lothario who leaves you high and dry at the altar while absconding with your jewelry, or the scoundrel might drain your bank account all the while he is romancing your sister behind your back.

My favorite cad, con man and probable scoundrel is of course, Zachary Scott. Possessing charm galore, a witty sophistication, dancing abilities and a silver tongue, he was able to wine and dine many women in films to the highest levels of distraction, as he did to Mildred Pierce and even that horrid Veda.

The real Scott was the scion of a prominent surgeon and went to England to ply his trade in acting, returning to Broadway and stock productions until he was chosen by Warners to play the lead in "The Mask of Dimitrios" to acclaim. His sleek, smooth portrayals of heels carried him admirably throughout his career, in other films like "Flamingo Road" et cetera, due to his intrinsically urbane, upper crust persona which was so apparent in multiple roles, yet when tasked his innate thespian talents also allowed him to give expert replicas of those less fortunate, as in the sharecropper role in Renoir's "The Southerner".

If I'm going to be taken to the cleaners, let it be someone as charmingly rogueish* [is that a word?] as Scott! Now it's up to you to name your preferred poison, as in poisonous cad, con man or scoundrel in films and remember, not all of them can be as well-rounded in savoir faire as Scott, so don't even try to outdo his charisma in your choices.

* Correction: That should have been "roguish". Sorry about the extra "e".

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My personal favorite is George Sanders. From his smooth, if unsuccessful attempt, to squeeze money out of Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in REBECCA, to his sharp, telling-it-as-it-is manor to Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) in ALL ABOUT EVE, he is both a charmer and a schemer, but dang if it doesn't draw you in.

His characters, especially in the two films I just mentioned....well they're like when you sip some wine or champagne and you enjoy it...until you realize it's poison.

Sanders made it cool to be attracted to cads.

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Sanders is really at his best in:

THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI (1947)Screen shot 2016-09-28 at 7.23.01 PM.jpg

Sanders plays a shallow writer desperately wanting to move up in society. He seems to accomplish his goals, but it comes at a terrible cost to his own happiness. During the story he destroys most of the women in his orbit. One of them is played by Angela Lansbury with whom George had worked two years earlier on THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. The other victims are portrayed by Ann Dvorak and Marie Wilson. In supporting roles people like John Carradine and Frances Dee shine. So does Warren William in what was his last screen appearance. It's an absorbing remake based on an earlier German drama, and George Sanders gives one of his finest performances. A performance that bolsters his reputation as Hollywood's premiere cad.

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55 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

My personal favorite is George Sanders. From his smooth, if unsuccessful attempt, to squeeze money out of Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in REBECCA, to his sharp, telling-it-as-it-is manor to Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) in ALL ABOUT EVE, he is both a charmer and a schemer, but dang if it doesn't draw you in.

His characters, especially in the two films I just mentioned....well they're like when you sip some wine or champagne and you enjoy it...until you realize it's poison.

Sanders made it cool to be attracted to cads.

He's just the best and who can be more suavely snide and arch as he charms one! I even dig his bro, Tom Conway.

Oddly enough, I often think about his suicide note, which said something like "Dear World, I am committing suicide because I am bored" or something to that effect.


In his case, I can almost believe that was the reason, but he was never boring in a movie.

Thanks, Beth!

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20 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Sanders is really at his best in:

THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI (1947)Screen shot 2016-09-28 at 7.23.01 PM.jpg

Sanders plays a shallow writer desperately wanting to move up in society. He seems to accomplish his goals, but it comes at a terrible cost to his own happiness. During the story he destroys most of the women in his orbit. One of them is played by Angela Lansbury with whom George had worked two years earlier on THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. The other victims are portrayed by Ann Dvorak and Marie Wilson. In supporting roles people like John Carradine and Frances Dee shine. So does Warren William in what was his last screen appearance. It's an absorbing remake based on an earlier German drama, and George Sanders gives one of his finest performances. A performance that bolsters his reputation as Hollywood's premiere cad.

Lovely write-up, TB!

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2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Clifton Webb in 

1953 Titanic as Richard Ward Sturges
1946 The Razor's Edge as Elliott Templeton
1946 The Dark Corner as Hardy Cathcart
1944 Laura  as Waldo Lydecker

 

 

Have seen them all and love them all!

Thanks, CigarJoe. It's funny how Clifton Webb was totally believable as being an admirer of Laura, but as great a con man as he was, he should have known better than to leave a weapon in that clock.

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Even in a fanciful film like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Sanders is at his roguish best, luring Gene Tierney into an affair which he lets her believe will someday lead to more than instant gratification. I love the scene where she declares she's a widow and therefore single: "Oh ...", he says, followed by his eyes lighting up and "... Oh???"

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Even in a fanciful film like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Sanders is at his roguish best, luring Gene Tierney into an affair which he lets her believe will someday lead to more than instant gratification. I love the scene where she declares she's a widow and therefore single: "Oh ...", he says, followed by his eyes lighting up and "... Oh???"

SANDERS gets his comeuppance in GHOST AND MRS. MUIR, when his wife leaves him and so does Mrs. Muir. He is left alone when his children are taken away.

 
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