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The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947)

Approved | | Drama | 25 April 1947 (USA)
Writer Georges Duroy (George Sanders) is one social-climbing S.O.B. who does most of his climbing over the warm (and cold) bodies of women. He begins with Rachel (Marie Wilson), a hanger-on... See full summary »





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Suzanne Walter (as Susan Douglas)
Marie de Varenne
Katherine Emery ...
Richard Fraser ...
Philippe de Cantel
John Good ...
David Bond ...
Leonard Mudie ...


Writer Georges Duroy (George Sanders) is one social-climbing S.O.B. who does most of his climbing over the warm (and cold) bodies of women. He begins with Rachel (Marie Wilson), a hanger-on in the cafes and Folies Bergere crowd, and then moves on to dally with Clotilde de Morelle (Angela Lansbury). Always striving to move upward on the social scale, he ditches her to marry Madeleine Forestier (Ann Dvorak). Now he gets on the fast track. He persuades Madame Walter (Katherine Emery), the wife of his publisher, to fall in love with him, and then compromises Madeleine to frame a divorce, so he can pursue Madame Walter's daughter, Suzanne (Susan Douglas, before somebody decided her later-married name was her most-often used screen name). He moves along so well that ere long he is in legal position to usurp the title of one of France's most noble houses. The moral, at the end, is it is okay to mess with French women, but triffling with French titles is going too far. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WOMEN GROVELED AT HIS FEET... and whimpered when he paused to give them a smile!




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 April 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bel Ami  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The producers held a contest for artists to create a painting about the temptation of Saint Anthony for use in the film. The artists were paid $500 each and got to keep their paintings after the pictures toured the US and Britain during 1946 & 1947. Although Max Ernst won the contest (receiving an extra $2,500) and got his painting on screen, Salvador Dalí's contribution (featuring a parade of spider-legged elephants tormenting the saint) became better known. The other artists who submitted paintings are Leonora Carrington, Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, Stanley Spencer, Eugene Berman, Paul Delvaux, Louis Guglielmi, Horace Pippin and Abraham Rattner. Artist Leonor Fini was also invited to contribute but she never produced a painting. See more »


At 9', a piano player and a violin player are doing a number. We hear a vibrato on the violin, but the left fingers of the player are not moving at all. See more »


Georges Duroy: [dying] I have been scratched by an old cat.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "This is the history of a scoundrel. The time is 1880 and the place is Paris." See more »


Version of Bel Ami (2005) See more »


The Ruins of Athens
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

The Eternal Cad
1 January 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami gave George Sanders to play a leading role as Guy de Maupassant's gentleman cad who rises in Parisian society over the bodies of a number of seduced and abandoned women. Sanders is a former dragoon who uses his charm to acquire money and power and in the end a title of minor nobility in Third Republic France. The one woman whom he truly loves, Angela Lansbury, is forever lost to him. Would she have brought him real happiness? It's for the audience to judge.

The comparisons between Bel Ami and Sanders's Oscar winning Addison DeWitt have to be made. Both men are cynics about human nature, but whereas theater critic DeWitt is an observer and a behind the scenes manipulator of others, Bel Ami is doing it all for his own advancement. Both performances have that touch of cad about them and they rank as some of the best work George Sanders did.

Look for good performances from John Carradine as Sanders's only true male friend and Angela Lansbury who he loves, but who can't give him the social standing he needs.

Also of course look for Warren William in his farewell role as Sanders's main antagonist. A not very brave, but a fairly shrewd sort, Sanders regularly bests him until the very end.

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami was a rather daring film for Code run Hollywood, it doesn't surprise me it was an independent movie, released by United Artists.

Fans of The Eternal Cad George Sanders will eat it up.

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