Two Mrs. Carrolls, The (1947)

The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947), directed by Peter Godfrey.

Humphrey Bogart is a grumpy painter showing signs of lunacy. When he meets Barbara Stanwyck he poisons his wife and remarries. Then he meets Alexis Smith and suddenly Stanwyck isn't feeling too well. During a dark and stormy night she discovers the awful truth.

It's a women's thriller wrapped in film noir atmosphere. It's hard to know where to stand: we don't cheer Bogart as he becomes increasingly insane and kills off his wives, but on the other hand he is being blackmailed which makes him more sympathetic. And he sincerely loves his daughter, which makes us like him more.

We've seen crazy Bogart before, as when infected with gold fever, and he really doesn't need to roll his eyes and clutch his forehead while strange chords clash on the soundtrack, but that's the story. This is the only screen meeting of the two stars.

To Alexis Smith he says "I have a feeling this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful hatred."

Special mention goes to Ann Carter, the intelligent and beautiful little girl last seen in The Curse of the Cat People (1944). Carter was a child actress for about ten years who contracted polio and recovered but did not return to acting.

Franz Waxman score, lush but way too dramatic in spots. Edith Head costumes for Stanwyck.

Warner Archive title, remastered, available for rent from ClassicFlix.

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