Published on March 12th, 2011 | by jlschlarmann0
The Two Mrs. Carrolls now on DVD
The Two Mrs. Carrolls
Sometimes the joy you get in watching an old, black and white movie is just in seeing the differences between cinema then and now. Not every film shot in black and white in the 1930s and 40s is a “classic” film; even those that star icons of the silver screen. In Warner Brother’s new Archive Collection edition of 1947′s The Two Mrs. Carrolls we get a film that is by no means B-grade but isn’t quite the top notch film that a picture starring Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, and Alexis Smith would be assumed to be.
The film sets Bogart as the tortured artist Geoffrey who at the outset is married to a invalid woman (who was in that condition since she gave birth to their now 11 year old daughter). After she not-so-mysteriously passes away, the pathway is clear for Geoffrey to marry his girlfriend Sally played by Barbary Stanwyck. Happiness for Geoffrey and Sally is short-lived as Cecily Latham, played by Alexis Smith enters the picture. Cecily is fresh meat for Geoffrey and so he sets out in an attempt to rid himself of Wife Number 2.
This movie was directly adapted from a stage play, as many from this era were, and it’s fairly easy to tell. It was shot like one might shoot a stage play, with very locked down sets and shots. One doesn’t usually watch these older films for a sense of reality though, so that can easily be ignored. With a film this old, even remastered versions will have some grain to the picture, and this version did as well, but the print was pretty remarkably clean and the grain and lines weren’t distracting.
The biggest positive this film has going for it is if you’re used to seeing Bogie in a more “heroic” role, or at least a protagonist’s role. In this film from start to finish he plays a darkly sinister character, that you just don’t trust from the start. This is not Rick from Casablanca, in other words. It’s interesting seeing Bogart take on a role like this one. He’s still got that Bogart swagger and delivery, but this time drenched in dark intent.
The Two Mrs. Carrolls will probably not change your perspective on cinema in the 1940s, and it definitely doesn’t deserve a place in any anthologies of the greatest films of that era. It’s not terribly put together but it doesn’t quite shine either. There is certainly enough from a educational standpoint to latch onto, and again to see Bogart take on a “bad guy” role is worth giving this disc a spin.