1947 / 110:00 / B/W / Drama/ Historical/ Romance
Director: Albert Lewin
Starring: George Sanders, Angela Lansbury, Ann Dvorak, John Carradine
Formats: Available in High Definition restored version.
This adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's novel is perhaps far less racy than it was in print, but that's a product of the age and the mores of Hollywood at the time. There's still plenty of rakishness in the title character, played by George Sanders, in such acerbic epigrams as: "Love and marriage are two entirely different subjects" and "Human society could hardly exist without deception." He goes on to illustrate both points amply by using and deceiving five women to further his own career, in the course of this elegant period piece. Angela Lansbury shines as the widow Mr. Sanders is probably in love with all along. Ann Dvorak, Frances Dee, Susan Douglas, Katharine Emery and Marie Wilson beautifully round out the quintet of jilted femmes. In the end, because this is Hollywood, our blase boulevardier is dispatched in a duel: kharmic retribution for all that nastiness and cruelty.
"Sanders has one of the meatiest parts of his career and plays it with the correct hammy touch, leering nastily at the women, striking them when it suits his fancy and emoting with de Maupassant epigrams for shock effect." 26 February 1947 Variety "'The Private Affairs of Bel Ami' reaches the peak of its excitement in a foreword which awesomely proclaims, 'This is the story of a scoundrel, the time is 1880, the place is Paris.'" 11 June 1947 New York Times Reviews
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