×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami

Confronted with the old problem of cleaning up a classic novel to conform to strict censorship codes, the production outfit has come up with a scrubbed-face version of the complete scoundrel depicted in Guy de Maupassant's novel Private Affairs of Bel Ami. The title character pays for his sins by being killed in a duel which he brought on himself, in strict compliance with the Production Code's 'crime doesn't pay' edict. Prosties, which had a feature part in the story, emerge as dancers of questionable character.

With:
George Sanders Angela Lansbury Ann Dvorak Frances Dee John Carradine Susan Douglas

Confronted with the old problem of cleaning up a classic novel to conform to strict censorship codes, the production outfit has come up with a scrubbed-face version of the complete scoundrel depicted in Guy de Maupassant’s novel Private Affairs of Bel Ami. The title character pays for his sins by being killed in a duel which he brought on himself, in strict compliance with the Production Code’s ‘crime doesn’t pay’ edict. Prosties, which had a feature part in the story, emerge as dancers of questionable character.

Entire tempo of the story is slow-paced. Director Albert Lewin’s script builds up little sympathy for George Sanders, the Bel Ami of the piece, who climbs to the top of Paris social and political circles in the 1880s over the broken hearts of five women whom he uses to advance himself and then discards.

Cast is exceptionally strong and, under Lewin’s skilled direction, is mostly responsible for the film’s merits. Sanders plays it with the correct hammy touch, emoting with de Maupassant epigrams for sock effect. Angela Lansbury is beauteous and competent as the young widow with whom he’s probably in love all the time. Ann Dvorak, Frances Dee, Susan Douglas, Katherine Emery and Marie Wilson all show well as the other women in his path. John Carradine, as the comrade, and Hugo Haas and Albert Basserman handle the male roles in okay fashion.

Painting of The Temptation of Saint Anthony, by Max Ernst, which forms one of the focal points of the story a la Dorian Gray, is flashed on the screen the first time it’s shown in brilliant Technicolor for good effect. Darius Milhaud’s score is excellent and Russell Metty’s camera work, spotlighting shadows and gas-lit interiors, is good.

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami

Production: Loew-Lewin. Director Albert Lewin; Producer David L. Loew; Screenplay Albert Lewin; Camera Russell Metty; Editor Albrecht Joseph; Music Darius Milhaud; Art Director Gordon Wiles

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1947. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: George Sanders Angela Lansbury Ann Dvorak Frances Dee John Carradine Susan Douglas

More Film

  • Ryan Murphy

    Netflix Acquires Tribeca Doc 'Circus of Books,' Exec Produced by Ryan Murphy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “Circus of Books” ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Rachel Mason wrote and directed the pic, and also produced it along with Kathryn Robson, Cynthia Childs, Camilla Hall and Adam Baron. Ryan Murphy, Josh Braun, John Battsek, Rhianon Jones and Gerald Herman executive produced. [...]

  • Santa Fe Studios Netflix

    Santa Fe Studios Competes With Other New Mexico Stages for Streaming Business

    Albuquerque Studios entered the spotlight last October when it was purchased by Netflix. While the complex is clearly the jewel in the crown of New Mexico’s production infrastructure, with eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet of production offices, a large backlot and support space, it’s not the only modern studio facility in [...]

  • Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Someone Great

    'Someone Great' Director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson on Reimagining the Rom-Com

    Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of the MTV series “Sweet/Vicious,” recently made her feature debut with “Someone Great,”  now streaming on Netflix. The film follows three friends as they navigate relationships and work in New York City.  Here, the writer-director opens up on reimagining the rom-com, and women changing the face of Hollywood. The three young [...]

  • Brie Larson Takes On 'Beat Saber'

    Brie Larson Takes on 'Beat Saber' With Jimmy Fallon

    “Avengers: Endgame’s” Brie Larson took to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to play around in virtual reality. After chatting with Fallon about the upcoming Marvel superhero flick, Larson got hooked up with an HTC Vive with the talk show hit to give “Beat Saber” a try. Fallon was first up, who played through a [...]

  • Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan

    Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan Doc Hits Netflix June 12 (EXCLUSIVE)

    You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, but Bob Dylan fans have been waiting for some kind of reliable forecast to know when “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese” might be rolling in. Here’s that storm alert: Netflix will be releasing the documentary June 12. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame' Racks Up Massive $169 Million Globally

    “Avengers: Endgame” is barreling toward a record-eviscerating weekend after opening to a mighty $169 million in its initial day of global release. That heroic haul includes a $107.5 million debut in China, an $8.4 million launch in South Korea, a $7 million bow in Australia and a $6 million day one in France. All in, [...]

  • Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘Herself’ Adds Cast, Cornerstone

    Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘Herself’ Adds Cast, Cornerstone Boards Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    Cornerstone Films has boarded sales on “Herself,” the female-driven movie from “Mamma Mia!” and “The Iron Lady” helmer Phyllida Lloyd. Irish actor Clare Dunne, who starred in Lloyd’s all-female theater production of “Henry IV,” will play a single mother determined to build her own home with a free online plan, rebuilding her life in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content