The Private Affairs of Bel Ami

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The Private Affairs of Bel Ami
The Private Affairs of Bel Ami poster.jpg
Directed by Albert Lewin
Produced by David L. Loew
Written by
Music by Darius Milhaud
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • April 25, 1947 (1947-04-25)
Running time 112 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami is a 1947 American drama film which stars George Sanders as a ruthless cad who uses women to rise in Parisian society. It was based on the Guy de Maupassant novel Bel Ami. The film had a 1946 premiere in Paris, Texas.[1] The score is by Darius Milhaud.[2]


The film was the swan song of the actor Warren William due to his health continuing to deteriorate. He was unable to work for most of 1947, the year the filming of The Private Affairs of Bel Ami finished.[3] This was the first role of Susan Douglas Rubes who had to sign a seven-year contact or else she could not act in any more films. Signing actors and actresses for seven years was a common thing for studios to do at the time.[4] Due to restrictions imposed by the Motion Picture Production Code, certain scenes needed to be censored. The 1945 painting The Temptation of St. Anthony by Max Ernst was shown on-screen,[2] having been the winner of a contest between invited artists; Ivan Albright, Eugene Berman, Leonora Carrington, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Dorothea Tanning, Leonor Fini, Louis Guglielmi, Horace Pippin, Abraham Rattner, Stanley Spencer and Ernst to create a work on the theme. Fini did not produce a painting, but the others were paid $500 for their submissions, with an additional $2,500 prize for the winner.[5]

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami was released on VHS in 1991. Steve Daly wrote in a 1991 Entertainment Weekly article that "the video release of this film is happy news for fans of George Sanders' particular brand of cinematic spleen."[6]


A 1946 Variety review stated, "Confronted with the old problem of cleaning up a classic novel to conform to strict censorship codes, the production outfit has come up with a scrubbed-face version of the complete scoundrel depicted in Guy de Maupassant's novel Private Affairs of Bel Ami." Variety also said that the cast was "exceptionally strong".[7] The author John Strangeland, who wrote a book about Warren William, said that the film is a "tiresome bore" and "terribly dry".[3]



  1. ^ "Overview". TCM. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "The Private Affairs Of Bel Ami: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Strangeland, John (2010). Warren William: Magnificent Scoundrel of Pre-Code Hollywood. McFarland. p. 201. ISBN 9780786461820. 
  4. ^ Weaver, Tom (2003). Eye on Science Fiction. McFarland. p. 37. ISBN 9780786416578. 
  5. ^ "SALE 2784 / LOT 311". Christie's. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ Daly, Steve (August 30, 1991). "The Private Affairs Of Bel Ami: Review (1991)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ Variety Staff (December 31, 1946). "Review: "The Private Affairs of Bel Ami"". Variety. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 

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