Death of a Scoundrel (1956)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir


Death of a Scoundrel (1956) Poster

The New York police investigates the murder of a Czech immigrant whose rags-to-riches story is told by his secretary to homicide detectives.


6.9/10
746

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  • George Sanders in Death of a Scoundrel (1956)
  • George Sanders in Death of a Scoundrel (1956)
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor and George Sanders in Death of a Scoundrel (1956)
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor and George Sanders in Death of a Scoundrel (1956)
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor and George Sanders in Death of a Scoundrel (1956)
  • Yvonne De Carlo, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Sanders, Nancy Gates, and Coleen Gray in Death of a Scoundrel (1956)

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Director:

Charles Martin

Writer:

Charles Martin

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9 November 2005 | sol1218
6
| "For What Shall a Man Profit When He Gains The Whole World Only To Loses His Own Soul"
(There Are Spoilers) Arriving at the Sabourin Mansion in New York City the homicide squad headed by police Capt. LaFarge, Morris Ankrum, finds multi-millionaire financier Clementi Sabourin dead, shot to death, in his study. Capt. LaFarge has Sabourin personal secretary Bridget Kelly (Yvonne De Carlo), the only person in the film who had anything good to say about him, called in for questioning about who could have possibly murdered her boss. It's then the movie "Death of a Scoundrel" fades into a flashback that takes up almost the entire film.

Surviving a Nazi concentration camp in WWII Clementi comes back home to Czechoslovakia only to find that all the money that he gave his younger brother Gerry Monte, Tom Conway, was gone and his childhood sweetheart Zina, Lisa Ferrady,married to him. Told by both Gerry and Zina that they were informed that he died in the camps doesn't make Clementi feel any better. Later Clementi goes to he Communist Czech police and rats on his brother about him having illegal and black-market contraband. This leads to Gerry getting shot and killed by the police for "resisting arrest".

For his service to the government Clementi gets a French passport that he uses to immigrate to the United States and find his fortune. In America Clementi waste no time getting to the top of the heap of the stock bond commodity and real-estate markets. With his sharp mind and unscrupulous principles Clementi becomes one of the richest and most feared men on Wall Street.

Clementi also scores big with the ladies charming them into investing in his schemes and make big bucks because of them. Like the Wall Street moguls of the 1920's, and later 1980's, Clementi specializes in corporate take-overs that ends up destroying the value of the companies that he takes over and throws thousands of stock owner out in the cold flat broke with their stocks totally worthless.

It's doesn't take long before Clementi becomes the most hated and despised man in the world of finance and his biggest fraud the selling of a stock to the public called Sobourinuranium was the last straw when it collapsed with Clementi ending up with all the money as the stock owners went broke; this brought the SEC, the Securites & Exchange Commission, in to investigate him and cause his fall from power and eventual murder.

There wasn't anyone in the movie that Clementi didn't screw to get what he wanted; his brother Gerry and later Gerry's widow Zina who ended up committing suicide when she found that he was cheating on her in a Chicago hotel with one of his many rich women friends Mrs. Edith Van Renassel ,Coleen Gray. Zina ended her life blaming Clementi in a suicide note for her death.

Clementi also used very rich and connected women like the beautiful widowed Mrs. Ryan, Zsa Zsa Gabor who he left high and dry and the mega rich Mrs.Van Renassalear who's marriage he destroyed to get cash, that he was alway desperately in need of, for his financial adventures. The only woman that Clementi fell in love with Mrs. Ryan's secretary Stephanie North,Nancy Gates, rejected his crude advances and thus gets even with Stephanie by destroying her career as an actress that he himself helped financed.

The last straw to Clementi's rottenness was when faced with being deported back to Communist Czechoslovakia as an undesirable alien he tries to get his old and sick mother( Celia Lousky), whom he ignored for years, come to America in order to declare him, in court papers, as being her legitimate son! Clementi wants his mother to tell the court that he was actually born in Switzerland with his father being a Swiss citizen! In order to prevent him from being shipped back behind the Iron Curtain and into a Soviet Gulag.

It's at this point that Clementi finally realizes what a heel and scoundrel he really is and in a show of contrition plans to give all his money away to those he stole and cheated it out off but. By that time it was already too late for him since not all of his partners in crime, who profited from his sleazy ventures, weren't that "saintly" and one of them Mr. O'Hara (John Hoyt), who was involved with Clementi's dealing right from the start, wasn't at all that willing to go along with him and depart from his ill-gotten gains.

In the end all Clementi wanted was forgiveness for what he did from those that he hurt over the years and in a strange and mystifying way, after his death, he did in the end get it.

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