The Two Mrs. Carrolls' (1947)

Geoffrey Carroll: "You know, I have the strangest feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful hatred."
By Peter Godfrey
With Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck and Alexis Smith

I think I came across The Two Mrs. Carrolls' after watching Key Largo (1948). It was a similar movie on IMDb and since I was on a Humphrey Bogart roll, I decided to see it.

Geoffrey Carroll is a relatively successful painter, however he often has issues feeling content with his work. He is married and has a young daughter, but after a trip to Scotland where he meets a woman named Sally Morton, his wife suddenly falls ill and dies shortly after. The last painting of his deceased wife goes on to become one of his most famous and he moves on and marries Sally Morton. When a new woman named Cecily starts entering Geoffrey's life and asks him to make her portrait, history seems to repeat itself and Sally falls ill. The tension rises as Cecily decides to leave, unwilling to risk it for a married man, and Sally becomes suspicious and Geoffrey gets more and more private about his last painting.

The beginning of the movie got me confused with the timeline, but it became clearer after a while. Once that was done, I felt more at ease with what happened in Geoffrey's first marriage and managed to follow the new intrigue in the second one better. The paranoia is quite well done, however there are some things that prevent it from working out as well as it could have been. It is hard to pinpoint exactly why, maybe it is the way Geoffrey is obvious about his interest in Cecily. Maybe it's the way his daughter, Bee, happens to always talk about the right thing, at the right time and to the right person. Maybe it's the way the doctor is absolutely incompetent and everyone seems fine with it.

The acting was good, though the critics at the time said Humphrey was miscast. I can understand that point of view, but I liked the way he portrayed a perturbed artist. Maybe their criticisms had more to do with how the movie unfolds very predictably at times and doesn't offer anything fresh.  However, it is undoubtedly a well crafted film.

I liked: The mystery around the paintings. The maid was awesome. The use of bells and bell towers.

I disliked: Convenient things to help the story. Not much questioning by anyone. Last line doesn't work.

It is a very decent intrigue and the paranoia works. However, it could have been weaved together more gracefully.


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