The Private Affairs of Bel Ami

Director: Albert Lewin
Year Released: 1947
Rating: 3.0

Machiavellian former soldier Georges Duroy (George Sanders) manipulates his way around Parisian high society, bedding his way to success but eventually making one conniving turn too many: he should have settled with Clotilde (Angela Lansbury), as he admits to himself (albeit too late). Few could pull off the near-sociopathic self-interest Sanders could - until the bullet pierces him, little else does - and while his apparently 'irresistible' romantic charm is a bit of a stretch (balding Sanders was already in his forties), his cunning in social affairs is all-too plausible and gleefully wicked. Hollywood tried remaking this in 2012 with Robert Pattinson as Duroy, and while Pattinson has an advantage in the looks department, Sanders dances circles around him as a screen artist and unflappable manipulator (also merciful: Lewin's version - due to the time and culture it was released - excised the apparent 'sexiness' the Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod version so failingly strived for).