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Sanders is the title character, using every woman he meets to advance up the social ladder in Paris during the latter half of the 19th century. Carradine gets him a job on a French newspaper, and Sanders marries his wife after Carradine dies, enabling him to get half the inheritance money.
He then dumps her in favor of a chance to acquire a royal title. His womanizing doesn't go over well, however, and he is challenged to a duel, during which he gets killed. Sanders plays his part to the maximum, leering lustfully at females but never giving in to Lansbury, the only woman he has a
chance with. A fine adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's excellent story, beautifully photographed by Metty and powerfully scored by composer Darius Milhaud. Max Ernst's painting "The Temptation of St. Anthony" is flashed on the screen in Technicolor. The need for compliance with the Motion Picture
Production Code required the film's makers to tone down some of the novel's off-color flavor: prostitutes became dancers of questionable character, and the title character pays for his sins by being killed in a duel, showing that crime (sin) doesn't pay.