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The Two Mrs. Carrolls

Posted by martinteller on November 18, 2012

“Don’t you ever tell me that, don’t you ever tell me I’m afraid of anything!  Now leave me alone!  Leave me alone!”

Geoffrey Carroll (Humphrey Bogart) is an artist living in London, with a wife and young daughter (Ann Carter).  He’s met and fallen in love with Sally (Barbara Stanwyck).  But when she learns that Jeff is married, she wants nothing to do with him.  Then the first Mrs. Carroll dies of a slow illness, and soon after Sally becomes the new Mrs. Carroll.  For a time their life seems ideal.  Then Jeff meets the lovely Cecily (Alexis Smith), and suddenly Sally isn’t feeling too well.

Of all the titles I had specifically lined up for Noir-vember, this was the one I was looking forward to the most.  Bogart and Stanwyck are an enticing combination.  And they don’t disappoint.  Okay, so my favorite Bogart role is Casablanca, but I also like him with a bit of danger to him.  Similar to In a Lonely Place, here we see him gradually going off the rails, becoming more and more menacing and unstable.  This isn’t Stanwyck at her very best, but she’s always a joy to watch.  The supporting cast is generally good.  I especially liked Barry Bernard as the chemist who knows too much.  It’s worth nothing that Carter is a very precocious child, but the character is written that way and it’s not obnoxious at all.  Also we have Nigel “Watson” Bruce, again playing a doctor who serves as sort of buffoonish comic relief.

The story is a slow burn, maybe a little too slow in spots, but for the most part it’s very engaging to watch it unfold.  There isn’t a lot of “action”, it’s more of a psychological thriller along the lines of Suspicion, except more captivating and without a dumb ending.  There are some really intense and powerful moments.  The cinematography is absolutely grand, with some shots that really got my pulse pounding.  And the Franz Waxman score is excellent as well.

I find myself without too much to say about the movie, except that I really liked it.  It’s a fine package that doesn’t squander its star power.  The tortured artist thing is an intriguing angle, and the film kept me riveted with its creeping dread.  And that final line is awesome.  Rating: Very Good (86)


3 Responses to “The Two Mrs. Carrolls”

  1. This is actually the most recent Bogart I’ve seen. I really loved it. The mystery aspect worked on my better than I expected. I love the way children acted back then also. Good write-up

    • Thanks Dusty! (Did my comment on your site not get saved?) I think most child actors of the era are either way too cutesy and annoying, or look like they’re trying too hard to impress the adults around them. Carter does a very nice job here, playing a CHARACTER trying too hard to impress, without seeming like an actress trying too hard.

      • It’s saved. You commented on the page i created and not the blog post, which is good, I just posted it there so it’d show up in people’s feeds. I replied to it.

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