The Two Mrs. Carrolls


1h 39m 1947
The Two Mrs. Carrolls

Brief Synopsis

A woman slowly discovers that her artist husband is a deranged killer.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Thriller
Adaptation
Release Date
May 24, 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Two Mrs. Carrolls by Martin Vale (New York, 14 Aug 1944).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

While on vacation in Scotland, Sally Morton meets and falls in love with painter Geoffrey Carroll, but ends the relationship when she learns that he has an invalid wife and a daughter. In London, Geoffrey, using a pseudonym, buys a supply of poison from pharmacist Horace Blagdon. He then sends his young daughter Beatrice away to school and takes over the nursing duties. Two years after the death of Geoffrey's wife, he and Sally have been married a year and live outside London with Bea. Geoffrey's portrait of his first wife as "Death" is superb, but Geoffrey currently faces difficulties in the studio and is irritated when Charles "Penny" Pennington, Sally's former fiancé visits with wealthy Mrs. Latham and her attractive daughter Cecily. Cecily greatly admires Geoffrey's recent one-man show and wants him to paint her portrait. At first Geoffrey gruffly turns her down, but later, because he needs the money to pay Blagdon's blackmail demands, agrees to do the work and begins an affair with Cecily. When Sally later becomes ill, the alcoholic Dr. Tuttle attributes her symptoms to a nervous disorder. One afternoon, Cecily invites Geoffrey to come to Rio de Janeiro with her, and he asks her to wait until Sally recovers from her illness. Geoffrey again plans to send Bea to a prestigious boarding school, but asks her not to tell Sally. Later, despite her weakness, Sally prepares a small dinner party for the Lathams and Penny. She asks to see Geoffrey's new painting, but he angrily refuses to let her near the studio. He is also miffed that Penny will be at dinner. Geoffrey then travels to London to meet Blagdon, who has demanded another payment, after lying to both Bea and Sally about the purpose of the trip. While he is gone, Sally, who has long suspected his affair with Cecily, finds a rose that she dropped on her afternoon visit. When Sally finds Bea packing for school, she questions the girl and learns that she was also suddenly sent to school before her mother died. To Sally's surprise, Bea tells her that her mother was not an invalid, but became sick with the same symptoms Sally now displays after Geoffrey returned from Scotland. When Bea then reveals that Blagdon is a chemist, Sally suddenly suspects that Geoffrey is trying to kill her. With Bea's help, she sneaks a look at the portrait Geoffrey is painting of her and is so shocked by the horrible image that she faints. Penny is concerned by Sally's fainting spell, believing it may have been caused by anxiety over a strangler who has been seen in the neighborhood, but she reveals nothing to her friend. Geoffrey returns after dinner, having killed Blagdon, and covertly tells Cecily that he will go with her to Rio. After the maid, Christine, leaves to drive Bea to school, Sally asks Geoffrey some pointed questions. Surprised by her changed manner, he offers to get her evening glass of milk. Sally secretly throws the milk out the window and retires to her bedroom, taking a gun that Penny loaned her. Later, Geoffrey sees the spilt milk on the window sill and realizes that Sally suspects him. He decides to make her murder seem like the work of the strangler and breaks into her bedroom. A terrified Sally manages to call Penny, but Geoffrey cuts the phone line before she can tell him what is happening. Geoffrey explains that Sally's death would help his work live again, just as the death of his first wife did. Sally holds Geoffrey at bay with the gun until Penny arrives with the police. Despite the presence of the men outside Sally's bedroom door, Geoffrey starts to choke her, but finally stops, just as the police break through the door.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Thriller
Adaptation
Release Date
May 24, 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Two Mrs. Carrolls by Martin Vale (New York, 14 Aug 1944).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

The Two Mrs. Carrolls


"Bogart appears uncomfortable. Violence and murder are old stuff to him, but madness and paint brushes are not quite his line," declared Time magazine politely in 1947. Time's analysis of Humphrey Bogart in The Two Mrs. Carrolls was a common one, and the decades since have not changed many opinions. In a chiller that veers into the overwrought, Bogart is cast as a painter in England who likes to kill his wives after painting their portraits. He poisons his first wife to marry Barbara Stanwyck, and after Alexis Smith moves into the neighborhood it's only a matter of time before Bogart is painting Stanwyck's picture.

Though completed in June 1945, The Two Mrs. Carrolls sat on the Warner Bros. shelf until March 1947, supposedly because of its similarities to Gaslight (1944). With Bogart now in the prime of his career, making one classic after another, The Two Mrs. Carrolls was an odd aberration. It did, however, earn Bogart a lot of money. In 1947 he made over $400,000, enough to keep him on the Motion Picture Herald's list of the top moneymaking stars in Hollywood.

Given the movie's plot, it's ironic that while making The Two Mrs. Carrolls Bogart was enjoying newfound marital bliss. Lauren Bacall became the fourth (and final) Mrs. Bogart just eleven days before filming began, and after a honeymoon they both went back to work at Warner Bros. (Bacall was shooting Confidential Agent, 1945.) The newlyweds drove to the studio together early in the morning, reported to their respective sound stages, ate lunch together when they could, and drove home together each evening, probably joking about Bogie's role as a wife killer.

Director Peter Godfrey was a veteran of the British theater who had come to Hollywood in 1939 to direct for Columbia. In 1944 he signed a five-year contract with Warner Brothers and made such well-received pictures as Hotel Berlin (1945) and Christmas in Connecticut (1945). Godfrey's stage experience is clearly visible in The Two Mrs. Carrolls (which itself was adapted from a play) in terms of the film's impressive Gothic atmosphere. Godfrey uses mysterious lighting, images of blowing curtains and haunting paintings, and sounds of creaking boards, closing doors, and church bells to build suspense and a creepy atmosphere. The British press found the movie's "English" atmosphere amusing. As one critic wrote, "Never was there so much quaint old English architecture in one village. Shop door bells tinkle as they hardly have done since Victorian days and it rains perpetually in what Americans fondly believe is the truly British way."

Barbara Stanwyck had been playing both dramatic and comedic roles for a decade when The Two Mrs. Carrolls was shot in 1945. But the following year's The Bride Wore Boots (1946) would mark her last feature comedy. Stanwyck later explained to Hedda Hopper that this was because she couldn't find a decent script. "I've always got my eye out for a good comedy. Remember Ball of Fire and The Lady Eve [both 1941]? But they don't seem to write that kind of comedy anymore - just a series of gags."

Some additional trivia: This was the second movie (after Conflict, 1945) in which Bogart attempted to kill for Alexis Smith. Look for director Peter Godfrey in a bit role as a race track "tout" who gives horse tips, and keep an ear out for Bogart spoofing his Casablanca (1942) dialogue with "I have the feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful hatred."

Producer: Mark Hellinger, Jack L. Warner
Director: Peter Godfrey
Screenplay: Thomas Job, Martin Vale (play)
Cinematography: J. Peverell Marley
Film Editing: Frederick Richards
Art Direction: Anton Grot
Music: Franz Waxman
Cast: Humphrey Bogart (Geoffrey Carroll), Barbara Stanwyck (Sally Morton Carroll), Alexis Smith (Cecily Latham), Nigel Bruce (Dr. Tuttle), Isobel Elsom (Mrs. Latham), Patrick O'Moore (Charles Pennington).
BW-94m. Closed captioning.

by Jeremy Arnold
The Two Mrs. Carrolls

The Two Mrs. Carrolls

"Bogart appears uncomfortable. Violence and murder are old stuff to him, but madness and paint brushes are not quite his line," declared Time magazine politely in 1947. Time's analysis of Humphrey Bogart in The Two Mrs. Carrolls was a common one, and the decades since have not changed many opinions. In a chiller that veers into the overwrought, Bogart is cast as a painter in England who likes to kill his wives after painting their portraits. He poisons his first wife to marry Barbara Stanwyck, and after Alexis Smith moves into the neighborhood it's only a matter of time before Bogart is painting Stanwyck's picture. Though completed in June 1945, The Two Mrs. Carrolls sat on the Warner Bros. shelf until March 1947, supposedly because of its similarities to Gaslight (1944). With Bogart now in the prime of his career, making one classic after another, The Two Mrs. Carrolls was an odd aberration. It did, however, earn Bogart a lot of money. In 1947 he made over $400,000, enough to keep him on the Motion Picture Herald's list of the top moneymaking stars in Hollywood. Given the movie's plot, it's ironic that while making The Two Mrs. Carrolls Bogart was enjoying newfound marital bliss. Lauren Bacall became the fourth (and final) Mrs. Bogart just eleven days before filming began, and after a honeymoon they both went back to work at Warner Bros. (Bacall was shooting Confidential Agent, 1945.) The newlyweds drove to the studio together early in the morning, reported to their respective sound stages, ate lunch together when they could, and drove home together each evening, probably joking about Bogie's role as a wife killer. Director Peter Godfrey was a veteran of the British theater who had come to Hollywood in 1939 to direct for Columbia. In 1944 he signed a five-year contract with Warner Brothers and made such well-received pictures as Hotel Berlin (1945) and Christmas in Connecticut (1945). Godfrey's stage experience is clearly visible in The Two Mrs. Carrolls (which itself was adapted from a play) in terms of the film's impressive Gothic atmosphere. Godfrey uses mysterious lighting, images of blowing curtains and haunting paintings, and sounds of creaking boards, closing doors, and church bells to build suspense and a creepy atmosphere. The British press found the movie's "English" atmosphere amusing. As one critic wrote, "Never was there so much quaint old English architecture in one village. Shop door bells tinkle as they hardly have done since Victorian days and it rains perpetually in what Americans fondly believe is the truly British way." Barbara Stanwyck had been playing both dramatic and comedic roles for a decade when The Two Mrs. Carrolls was shot in 1945. But the following year's The Bride Wore Boots (1946) would mark her last feature comedy. Stanwyck later explained to Hedda Hopper that this was because she couldn't find a decent script. "I've always got my eye out for a good comedy. Remember Ball of Fire and The Lady Eve [both 1941]? But they don't seem to write that kind of comedy anymore - just a series of gags." Some additional trivia: This was the second movie (after Conflict, 1945) in which Bogart attempted to kill for Alexis Smith. Look for director Peter Godfrey in a bit role as a race track "tout" who gives horse tips, and keep an ear out for Bogart spoofing his Casablanca (1942) dialogue with "I have the feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful hatred." Producer: Mark Hellinger, Jack L. Warner Director: Peter Godfrey Screenplay: Thomas Job, Martin Vale (play) Cinematography: J. Peverell Marley Film Editing: Frederick Richards Art Direction: Anton Grot Music: Franz Waxman Cast: Humphrey Bogart (Geoffrey Carroll), Barbara Stanwyck (Sally Morton Carroll), Alexis Smith (Cecily Latham), Nigel Bruce (Dr. Tuttle), Isobel Elsom (Mrs. Latham), Patrick O'Moore (Charles Pennington). BW-94m. Closed captioning. by Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

I have a feeling this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful hatred.
- Geoffrey Carroll

Trivia

Notes

According to an June 8, 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, Warner Bros. bid $225,000 for the Martin Vale play. An undated press release included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library reports that Paul Henreid was to star with Barbara Stanwyck. Director Peter Godfrey plays a bit as a cockney bookie in the film.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video May 20, 1992

Released in United States Summer May 24, 1947

Released in United States on Video May 20, 1992

Released in United States Summer May 24, 1947