The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)

Genres - Thriller, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Paranoid Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Melodrama  |   Release Date - Mar 4, 1947 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

While The Two Mrs. Carrolls was a smash hit on the stage, on film it's entertaining, but only reasonably effective. What damages the movie is a hole in the center -- namely, the leading male character. For most of the film, Geoffrey's motivations are fuzzy and unclear; we know he is a murderer, but we don't really know why, and we don't know what his real feelings are for Sally. Did he murder his wife because he's insane, because he needs money, because he loves Sally, or because his work is so important that he must sacrifice anything in order to find the inspiration that enables him to create masterpieces? The audience is eventually told the answer, but it doesn't come across as believable; and though Humphrey Bogart is good in the role, he can't overcome this fatal flaw in the writing. Had the character's motivations been treated in a more imaginative way, in which the director and writer kept the audience guessing at every step, this could have become an asset. Unfortunately, the manner in which it is handled makes it a significant detriment. Still, there's more than a modicum of suspense and interest generated along the way, and Barbara Stanwyck -- operating in "good girl" mode -- and a delightfully selfish Alexis Smith turn in very fine performances. A bit of a disappointment given the talent involved, The Two Mrs. Carrolls is, nonetheless, moderately enjoyable.