- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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A very interesting film
- John Feeley
If only based on the talent used to create this film, "The Private Affairs of Bel Ami" deserved my attention: music by Darius Milhaud, a painting from Max Ernst, leading roles for George Sanders (who portrays George Duveroy) and Angela Lansbury (Clotilde) and a strong supporting cast. But in the very first scene, I was caught up in the film itself - the stylish black and white photography, the very curious set, somehow looking out into a boulevard at the back and also overlooking the city on the right side, a grisette's (Marie Wilson) persistent attempts to attract George Sanders, his meeting of a former army buddy with a job possibility for him, his cold observation of his friend (and benefactor), Charles Forestier's tubercular coughing and his subsequent circling back to the girl he has persistently snubbed. Sander's silent observation as his friend coughs, as though he is making a calculation of how long Charles might have to live, clarifies just what sort of person our main character is: one totally obsorbed in self-interest. The film continues, painting the picture of Sander's amoral but uncommitted character as he meets conventional, mercenary, lonely and virtuous Parisians. In the second scene, the dinner party at the Forestier's, the underlying theme of the film is revealed. One dinner guest, De Varrenne, a blind composer and organist at Notre Dame, responds to George's inquiry concerning their previous encounter by saying that he likes to attend the puppet show in the Champs Ellysee since Punch is portrayed there. De Varrenne enjoys the Punch character because he portrays the slavery that results from a life without God. George persists in observing only what leads to greater advantages for him, oblivious of religion, love, true honor, friendship and the feelings of those around him. This blinding self-concern does, in the end, lead to his destruction. And yet his style, aptly embodied in George Sanders, keeps him a sympathetic character. Full of interest.
- kevin sellers
My problem with this film is not, as with El Debbo, that it's been Hollywood sanitized, but is rather the problem I have with the Maupassant novel upon which it is based, namely that it's repetitive and preachy, with too many scenes of George Sanders acting like an unmitigated cad (we get the point after the scene with the floozie at the cafe) and multiple declarations by Sanders of his amoral/cynical philosophy. As a result the film is awfully talky and quite slow paced. Physical action is at a premium; a duel which we have to wait almost two hours for and a slap just about do it. And screenwriter/director Albert Lewin does not possess the verbal or cinematic skills to fill the void. About the only reason I stuck with the damn thing was the acting. A fine cast and they all do good work, especially Sanders, Angela Lansbury (whose talent lets her triumph over the dull role of the Virtuous Woman) John Carradine, Anne Dvorak (I love actresses who combine great intelligence with great sexuality) and Katherine Emery (as the most pitiable of Sanders' victims). Give it a C plus.
Disappointing-Nothing to do with book' story
Ok film but the story is not true to the book. The ending has been changed.And Mme Fretier in the book is no Angel. Far from it. Also, the morality of the story is,NOT:" Messing with French women is ok but not with French titles" like I've read somewhere.This is utter stupidity. The book just shows the hypocrisy, cynicism, greed, ambition and intrigues among the Upper Class and its veneered exterior of respectability. George du Roy , seeing all this, decides to "join the club" & becomes ultra cynical & eaten by ambition. At the end of the book, he succeeds and becomes a millionaire, on his way to become a minister in the government. He doesn' t die. He achieves his goal...for now.Very disappointed in this film. I hate it that they had to change the storyline to make it more "PC".Only highlight for me:watching a young Angela Lansbury.
Scorcese has helped to preserve this.
- el debbo
Anything by de Maupassant will be detailed and intriguing, but not too happy. At first I was taken aback by the clean surreal sets created to depict 1890's Paris. Then I was drawn in, by the dreamlike scenarios, by the well-done story of a rogue. Aptly portrayed by George Sanders, Bel Ami is a cool character, but fascinating. I thought Sanders was quite convincing. Angela Lansbury was not at her best, sounding like she was reading a poem as she said her lines.Their wild first date to the wrong side of town, doing a breathtaking dance in a noisy dive--- that was the best part of the movie for me. There he was real, as he was at the very end. Four stars.
The Private Affairs of Bel Ami
- Arlette Gaffrey
I love this movie and I can't understand why it 's not on DVD. And I can no longer get any VHS that might have it. VHS is now obsolete. I saw in your movie data base that this movie is not avaliable. And I can't understand why. Please see if you can find it somewhere and please show it.
Dark and Fascinating
- Deborah Henderson
This is a very well-written, beautifully acted and absorbing. I simply don't understand why it is not available on DVD. I've worn out my VHS copy.