Though I often try to find something enjoyable in just about any movie, the celebration of the birthday of George Sanders
, on TCM must have been the result of a desire to show his lesser known films or leasing his better known movies must be getting tough to arrange. Some of his lamest films were, unfortunately, part of today's lineup. While I couldn't stand to watch more than a few minutes of most, one movie jumped out as highly amusing even though I knew it was pretty wretched.
Yes, there were a few small diamonds thrown in, such as Witness to Murder
(1958) and The Whole Truth
(1958), but if I'd never seen George before today's sparse feast, I might conclude that he was, well, a complete hack.
The disinterment of Dark Purpose
(1964) and Good Times
(1967), the first one of the most ineptly made pseudo-gothic Italian movies I've ever seen, and the second a Sonny and Cher flick that the less said about it, the better. I'm willing to draw a welcome veil over those unambitious movies that really should be made into guitar picks soon, but I'd like to mention the curious charms of ...not Solomon and Sheba
(1959), even though it was sad more than bad, but this morning's Samson and Delilah
*Mild Spoilers Below* *Mild Spoilers Below*
I know that I probably don't appreciate the gift of De Mille
for these types of extravaganzas, but this one was so hilariously bad--in a funny yet tedious way. It's not just the sick scene when Angela Lansbury
is suddenly impaled, Victor Mature
's wrasslin' with a stuffed lion or being blinded, but poor Hedy Lamarr
had to look aroused by his struggle, not to mention the terrible job they did on her makeup for the color film, making her very beautiful face far older than it was in reality. Nor was it her "I'll never be hungry again" moment after all heck breaks loose at her sister's wedding reception (see below).
No, it was also the terrible dialogue, as in the following examples:
Hot chick to slavering pickup at the public humiliation of blind Samson in the arena as he is surrounded by dwarves who taunt him and nip at his leg with the jawbone of an ass: "What are they doing now?" she asks. He replies: "Spinning their web, my sweet". Do you really want to be dating a babe who's so dumb she can't figure out what's going on at this event? Isn't it obvious?
Samson: (of Delilah) Hold this fork-tongued adder before I put a heel on her.
Delilah: If you crush the life out of me I'd kiss you with my dying breath!
My favorite scene in *Samson & Delilah*? George Sanders
as the Saran (Wrap?) of Gaza playing with his ant farm!
Therefore, I'd like to submit Samson and Delilah
as another nominee for Worst Picture (in an entertaining, watchable and irreverent way).
George, as he should always be--suave, a bit sinister, but always interesting:
Please, let's stick to the movies where George Sanders
plays someone who might have brought some style to a world desperately short on it, somewhere between 1700 and the 1960s!
An Ideal George Sanders Birthday Tribute might include:
All About Eve
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
The Private Affairs of Bel Ami
Call Me Madam
The Moon and Sixpence
Son of Fury
Rage in Heaven
Confessions of a Nazi Spy
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Village of the Damned
This Land Is Mine
and almost nothing after 1960, alas.