The distinguished-looking gentleman in the above photo was extremely accomplished at playing a certain type of role: the cad. In the movie pictured above, he plays a thoroughly nasty character, Addison DeWitt, a theatre critic with a serious power addiction. DeWitt tosses away Marilyn Monroe's ditzy character in pursuit of Anne Baxter's equally nasty Eve Harrington, which might make us question his taste. George Sanders, who was born 100 years ago today, won an Oscar for his portrayal of DeWitt in the 1950 film All About Eve. It may have been his best-known role.

I love watching Sanders (and Bette Davis) in All About Eve, but I'm equally fond of him as "Rebecca's favorite cousin" in Rebecca, the 1940 Hitchcock-directed thriller starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Sanders had a long and profitable career playing disreputable gentlemen of one type or another, in films such as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, A Scandal in Paris, and A Shot in the Dark. In addition, he briefly starred in two B-movie series of the 1940s, as The Saint and later The Falcon. (And let's not forget his role as Shere Khan, the tiger, in The Jungle Book.) I found a Salon article from 1996 about Sanders portraying many great cads of the silver screen, which is definitely worth a read. The article also details Sanders' suicide in 1972. Among his many film and TV roles, IMDb lists two now-lost TV remakes of the 1944 film Laura in which Sanders plays Waldo Lydecker. Wouldn't that be a treat to watch?
categories Features, Cinematical