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Douglas Sirk had originally wanted to film Anton Chekhov's 'The Shooting Party' at the German UFA studio before he fled Germany in 1937. He had wanted actor Willy Birgel to play Fedor, and when he made the U.S. version he picked George Sanders because he considered Sanders a similar "type" to Birgel. See more »
This movie is a stagy Hollywoodish interpretation of a story by Anton Chekhov. While the story itself is good, the problem is that Hollywood converts the story into melodramatic pulp. George Sanders was a great actor but here he is entirely miscast. Playing starstruck was not Mr. Sander's forte. Linda Darnell was beautiful and was also a great actress but casting her as a Russian Russian peasant woman, and a self-centered, illiterate one at that, was a bit of a stretch. Her manipulations were laughable. The idea of her character actually getting over George Sander's character tested the limits of plausibility. Some of the supporting cast were more believable, something however that cannot be said for Edward Everett Horton. One was hard pressed to ignore Mr. Horton's jocular Americanese inflection suggesting a character who might have been more at home at a baseball game anywhere in the United States. All this notwithstanding, it's still a good movie and worth watching because despite the aforementioned flaws, Mr. Sanders is dashing, Ms. Darnell is ravishing, Mr. Horton is amusing, the rest of the cast is wonderful and the movie overall is entertaining, which is the ultimate bottom line.
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