Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, January 11, 2008


GEORGE SANDERS: An Exhausted Life. Richard VanDerBeets. Madison Books; 1990.

An excellent, thorough look at the fascinating life of the fascinating man and actor George Sanders, his four marriages (each of which is a story in itself), his affairs, his attitude toward acting and toward life in general, his films, friends, and troubled final years. Sanders got bored early on with the kind of treacle that Hollywood gave him, and after awhile, took just about any film assignment strictly for the money. He was an excellent actor (an asset to most films) who probably would have done well to take on more challenging work, but had a fear of performing live and appeared to have no interest in being a Shakespearean actor a la Olivier. He didn't die out of boredom, but for more specific reasons which are detailed in the biography. The book is bolstered by major interviews with family members and ex-wife Zsa Zsa Gabor, who remained good friends with Sanders even after their ill-advised marriage was over. You'll also learn about Sander's rather cynical (or realistic) attempts to get his brother Tom Conway started in pictures in London; Conway eventually made it to Hollywood where – with his brother's help -- he achieved much less success than Sanders. The book is peppered by Sander's sardonic comments, quotes, and interviews. A very entertaining and informative read.

Verdict: A fine biography of a fine actor.***1/2.

No comments: