Writer/director Albert Lewin, ever on the lookout for esoteric story material that would accommodate his fascination with Egyptian sculpture and feline symbolism, managed to inject both into The Private Affairs of Bel Ami. Though based on a Guy de Maupassant story, Bel Ami seems to have been written by Oscar Wilde, another of Lewin's pets (e.g. The Picture of Dorian Gray). George Sanders plays an epigrammatic Parisian journalist, who rises to the top through the "kindnesses" of the various influential women that he's seduced and abandoned. This 19th-century rake's progress is ultimately halted by a duel, and somehow we're sorry that we don't get to see Sanders pull off at least one more caddish trick to save himself. Echoes from Lewin's previous works include his insertion of a Technicolor sequence (as he'd done in Dorian Gray and The Moon and Sixpence). George Sanders' stepping-stone ladies include Angela Lansbury, Frances Dee, Ann Dvorak, Marie Wilson, Katherine Emery and Susan Douglas.
by Hal Erickson synopsis