Debonair George Sanders, equally entertaining as hero or villain, was born on July 3, 1906, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Sanders' birth came nearly two years after his brother, actor Tom Conway, was born in September 1904.
Sanders' name runs like a thread through decades of Hollywood's great films. Hitchcock, Ford, Lang, Disney, Mankiewicz...not to mention the best of RKO's "B" detective movies, the SAINT and FALCON series.
Sanders was in two Best Pictures, REBECCA (1940) and ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the latter film.
Although Sanders excelled at playing sneering villains or cads -- just a couple of notable examples being REBECCA (1940) and THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947) -- I have often said that the only thing better than Sanders as a bad guy is Sanders as a hero.
My favorite Sanders role is as Joel McCrea's friend Ffolliott in one of my very favorite movies, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940). As I wrote of Sanders in my review, "I really love it when his dry wit and wicked slyness are on the side of truth, justice, and the American way. Terrific fun...especially his own life-and-death escape from a hotel room, carried off with great panache."
Sanders also makes a fine romantic hero in films such as RAGE IN HEAVEN (1941) and LURED (1947). It was quite interesting having the tables turned in RAGE IN HEAVEN, with usual good guy Robert Montgomery being a psychotic creep and Sanders as Ingrid Bergman's dashing knight in shining armor!
His work across many genres included two of Tyrone Power's finest swashbucklers, THE BLACK SWAN (1942) and SON OF FURY (1942), Fritz Lang's MAN HUNT (1941) and WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956), and epics such as SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949) and IVANHOE (1952). In the latter years of his career, he was the voice behind one of Disney's great animated villains in THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967).
The man with one of the greatest voices in Hollywood history could even sing! He had the chance to display his vocal talent in CALL ME MADAM (1953).
All this, and he was Mr. Freeze in the TV series BATMAN! What a career. Small wonder he is one of my all-time favorite actors.
George Sanders films previously reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: LOVE IS NEWS (1937), FOUR MEN AND A PRAYER (1938), THE SAINT STRIKES BACK (1939), THE SAINT IN LONDON (1939), FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940), GREEN HELL (1940), RAGE IN HEAVEN (1941), THE GAY FALCON (1941), A DATE WITH THE FALCON (1942), THE FALCON TAKES OVER (1942), THE FALCON'S BROTHER (1942), THE BLACK SWAN (1942), SON OF FURY (1942), QUIET PLEASE - MURDER (1942), THEY CAME TO BLOW UP AMERICA (1942), THE LODGER (1944), HANGOVER SQUARE (1945), LURED (1947), ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), ASSIGNMENT - PARIS (1952), THE SCARLET COAT (1955), WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956), THE WHOLE TRUTH (1958), THE LAST VOYAGE (1960), IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS (1962), and THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967).
2015 Update: Here are additional reviews of George Sanders films: THE SAINT'S DOUBLE TROUBLE (1940), THE SAINT TAKES OVER (1940), HER CARDBOARD LOVER (1942), THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945), and WITNESS TO MURDER (1954).
2016 Update: Here are new reviews of THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI (1947) and THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS (1941).