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When Clementi Suborin is found murdered, his secretary recounts to the police the story of his rise from Czech refugee to ultra-rich New Yorker. The tale of betrayal, womanising and fraud confirms that almost everyone who knew him wanted him dead. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I seem, no matter what the film, to always be drawn to a George Sanders film. He usually plays the most offensive, morally bankrupt, devious, underhanded roles. If there is someone out to swindle a woman from her possessions through flattery - George Sanders is there. If a young ingénue is promised fame for the price of her physical love - George Sanders is there. If a brother is turned in for stealing rare objects d'art to the police - George Sanders is there. These are just a portion of the terrible things George Sanders does in Death of a Scoundrel, but, amazingly, Sanders remains almost likable throughout because of his innate affability and charm. No one turns a phrase better than Sanders, and it is his easy wit, dry delivery, wry sense of humor, predisposition to sarcasm, and excellent timing that make him stand out in what would otherwise be pretty routine stuff. Death of a Scoundrel opens with Sanders already dead. We then get to, through the character of lovely Yvonne De Carlo, trace the roots of how Sanders first became a scoundrel and how he eventually died. The story, though full of overstated melodrama, is an interesting one with the Sander's character actually given some depth of characterization. The supporting cast is top-notch with Zsa Zsa Gabor giving what I think is one of her all around best performances. She and Sanders appear to have strong chemistry between them(little wonder as they had previously been married/divorced). Nancy Gates does a very credible job as an aspiring actress. John Hoyt is always good and Coleen Gray gives a good turn as well. Tom Conway, the real life half-brother of Sanders, plays Sander's brother in the film. But supporting cast aside, this movie is all Sanders. I really liked Death of a Scoundrel. It is not a great film, but it was much better than I had thought it would be. It goes to show that quality acting, a coherent script, thoughtful direction from Charles Martin, and a sense of style, not just in how the film appears but in the way the film is made, all go a long way in making the mundane pretty good.
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