Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Bogart and Stanwyck in their only film together

THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS (1947). Director: Peter Godfrey.

"Would you like something, officers? A glass of milk perhaps?

Sally (Barbara Stanwyck) meets and falls in love with troubled artist Geoffrey Carroll (Humphrey Bogart), then learns he has a wife. Said wife conveniently dies, and Sally and Geoff are married, the two of them residing in Sally's palatial estate along with Geoff's very self-assured little girl, Beatrice (Ann Carter). Then along comes super-sexy Cecily Latham (Alexis Smith), who wants Geoff to paint her portrait and won't take no for an answer. Before long Sally is getting suspicious, especially when she learns that Geoff's first wife wasn't an invalid as he claimed, and that she's developing similar symptoms to what the first Mrs. Carroll had before she died ... Based on a stage play, The Two Mrs. Carrolls is a poor man's Suspicion, which was released six years earlier. There's even some business with a glass of milk. At least this is somewhat superior to the next thriller Stanwyck did with director Peter Godfrey, Cry Wolf with Errol Flynn, and the acting is quite good. Stanwyck is better at getting across the vulnerability and terror of the heroine than you might expect [although she does seem to summon up her bravery at the climax rather suddenly], Bogart is fine in all but his most challenging scenes, little Ann Carter proves a superlative child actress in her portrayal of the highly interesting and mature Beatrice, and gorgeous Smith has wicked fun as the slinky and self-absorbed Cecily, with Isobel Elsom scoring as her mother and Nigel Bruce as -- what else? -- a doctor. Anita Bolster is a riot as the saturnine housekeeper, Christine. Crackling good dialogue from Thomas Job [from Martin Vale's play] and a fine Franz Waxman score help a great deal. The last line provides a little wink at the audience. Bogart and Stanwyck play quite well together.

Verdict: No Suspicion, but fun nevertheless. **1/2.

No comments: