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Death of a Scoundrel

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Product Details

  • Actors: George Sanders, Yvonne Decarlo, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Victor Jory, Nancy Gates
  • Directors: Charles Martin
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: November 16, 2011
  • Run Time: 2 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005XB8SLY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,480 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

He was the most hated man on earth. But he could have been one of the great men in history. He was a genius. So begins the post-mortem recollections of the cast of characters that had the misfortune of crossing paths with Clementi Sabourin, a cad of such monumental proportions that only George Sanders could play him. Clementi's story plays out in a series of flashbacks, as his life story is relayed by those who knew him to the police, who are investigating his murder. Yvonne DeCarlo, Zsa Zsa Gabor (the ex-Mrs. Sanders), Nancy Gates and Coleen Gray play the eye-catching "Four beautiful reasons behind...the Death of a Scoundrel" promised by the film's poster while Sanders' sibling Tom Conway appears as Clementi's brother. Contributions from the equally celebrated James Wong Howe (cinematographer) and Max Steiner (composer) add luster to the film's pulp noir pursuit of the truth of a great man, greatly dedicated to only himself.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
A VHS sometimes difficult to find, probably around May/2012 the DVD will appear.
yorge Zander
While the outcome of the film is unlikely to be the outcome of the lives of real-life scoundrels, many of the same motivations are at play even today.
J. Alec West
The black & white image and the sound quality on this DVD are very good, no loading or skipping problems.
Range Girl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rae Stabosz on January 18, 2010
Format: VHS Tape
I caught this on Turner Classic Movies this morning and found it completely mesmerizing. I'm not quite sure what the other reviewer meant when he/she wrote that real people in the 50's didn't talk this way. Real people don't talk like the folks in Gilmore Girls, but I love that show. Complex, witty dialogue attracts me and this movie has it in spades. George Sander's character is an unapologetic liar, seducer, perpetrator of financial fraud, yet he remains charming and watchable at all times. I compare this to his scoundrel role in All About Eve; that character gave me the creeps when he revealed the corruption under the charm and cynicism. In Death of a Scoundrel, the character instead inspires a whole range of emotions including, finally, pity.

I laughed out loud throughout this movie, as Sanders' rogue juggles multiple women. In one scene, his servant announces a rich woman (Zsa Zsa Gabor) has come to his house unexpectedly. He quickly ushers out the woman with whom he's been having tea and romancing. Zsa Zsa comes in and while exchanging pleasantries with him picks up one of the teacups, examines it for lipstick, and says "Beautiful cup" as she sets it down.

In another scene, he is romancing a married woman and invites her to lunch the next day. She comments that he is very bold, seeing as how she is married. He replies that he finds her too fascinating not to pursue. She says, "But I am attached!", and he replies, "I don't want to attach you, I only want to borrow you for a while." Very funny, melodramatic, and eminently watchable film.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Alec West on May 3, 2007
Format: VHS Tape
Few people know this but George Sanders' character, Clementi Sabourin, is loosely based on the life of notorious stock manipulator, Serge Rubenstein. Source, the New York Times:


A one-hour documentary titled "The Case of Serge Rubenstein" aired on NBC radio a year before the film was released. This likely provided the idea that induced screenwriter, Charles Martin, to do the script - though the names were changed to protect the innocent (and possibly the guilty).

The key moment in the film is when Sabourin acquires a stolen cashier's check for $20,000. He signs it over to himself and uses it to buy stock in a company he's heard inside information about. And fortunately, the inside information pans out and he's able to get the check back before it can bounce ... paid for by money he's acquired from the stock purchase.

As a result of the shady arrangement, Sabourin becomes a wealthy man literally overnight. And, his rise to financial power is equally swift as he uses personal charm and outright lies to gain the confidence of those who could make him even wealthier.

This rise to power finally reaches its peak and the worm begins to turn when Federal authorities begin to investigate Sabourin's dealings. And faced with possible deportation back to Czechoslovakia (a communist country that would confiscate his wealth), Sabourin calls in his ace-in-the-hole (or so he thinks). He sends for his mother to join him in America. And once here, he asks his mother to lie for him ... to tell authorities that he's the illegitimate son of a Swiss father. If she tells this lie convincingly, authorities will have no option but to deport him to capitalist-friendly Switzerland ... where he can continue to live his life of luxury.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on July 2, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I don't usually like movies on the first viewing. This was an expection. Death of a Scoundrel is a very detailed and interesting film. Yvonne De Carlo stars opposite George Sanders and his Ex-wife ZaZa Gabor. Its a bit complicated though and you have to pay attention. One intersting bit is that there is a rare acting appearance given by De Carlo's husband-stuntman Robert (Bob) Morgan as Chuck Kelley. Yvonne De Carlo is superb and this role really gives her a chance to showcase her serious acting side as she is usally cast as a dancing girl or in an adventure film. In a way, Death of Scoundrel does take you on adventure-one that will keep you gasping and guessing-until the very end!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles Thomas on May 20, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Death of a Scoundrel" features George Sanders in one of his best roles. It is relatively low-budget, but well scripted, directed, and acted, and it moves right along. Also, the film score by Max Steiner is outstanding, not only for its dark main theme, but for its perfect fit with what takes place on the screen. Listen to the harp climbing as Sabourin's (Sanders') mother ascends the staircase of her son's ill-gotten mansion and arrives on the landing with the music resolving meltingly. For fans of George Sanders, or his wife at the time, Zsa Zsa Gabor, "Death of a Scoundrel" is indispensable.

In his serviceable biography of the complex, conflicted, and ultimately tragic Mr. Sanders, Dr. Richard VanDerBeets says Sanders' on-screen persona often carried a mask that the actor himself said was "suave and cynical" (see George Sanders: An Exhausted Life, p. 127). Dr. VanDerBeets quotes a contemporary reviewer of "Death of a Scoundrel" as saying "[Sanders] was thoroughly at home in the role . . . ." (Pp. 131-132.)

Sanders' most affecting film, in my opinion, however -- a film in which Sanders wore no mask -- is "Voyage to Italy" (sometimes entitled "Journey to Italy") with Ingrid Bergman, a heart-breaking Robert Rossellini masterpiece about a marriage in trouble. Even though, as film-historian Laura Mulvey notes in her informed and enthusiastic commentary included in the Special Collector's Edition (not easy to find), Rossellini was persuaded to give it a Hollywood ending, I find the ending as real as the rest of the film.
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