Two-Faced Woman (1941)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Romance


Two-Faced Woman (1941) Poster

After a ski instructor catches her husband flirting with an old flame, she decides to pose as her (fictitious) twin sister in an attempt to keep him faithful.


6.3/10
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1 June 2005 | jotix100
7
| Garbo dances the rumba!
Greta Garbo, the mythical actress was last seen on the screen in this comedy. As directed by George Cukor, the film has its rewards for the fans of Ms. Garbo. The film, based on German playwright Ludwig Fulda, was adapted by some of the best screen writers of the time: S.N. Behrman, Saska Viertel and George Oppenheimer.

Mr. Cukor, an intelligent director probably miscalculated the effect this film would have on the viewers more used to a dramatic Garbo, who in here is made to lighten up. At times, Ms. Garbo seems to be on the right track to find a way to play the dual role of Karin/Katherine and appears to be having a good time playing the twins. Mr. Cukor was not able to erase some of the mannerisms for which the Swedish diva was famous for.

The basic problem with the film is the quick transformation of the ski instructor, Karin Borg, into the wife of the dashing and debonair Lawrence Blake. Perhaps if this aspect would have been exploited a bit more, the film would have taken a different tone. Not only are we surprised by the rapid change of the strong Karin into being relegated to being a second banana by marrying Larry.

The most interesting character from the film is Griselda Vaughn, Larry's former girlfriend who learns he has suddenly married a nobody, leaving her to fend for herself. Griselda is too smart to accept the situation. As played by Constance Bennett, she is one of the best things in the movie.

Melvyn Douglas' Larry is also excellent. He tries hard to convey this man who is used to be among sophistication and style. That's what makes it a bit hard to accept this man would settle with a woman that is attracted to a permanent winter state of mind. Ruth Gordon is good as the secretary that befriends Karin and conspires with her. Roland Young and Robert Sterling are seen in small roles.

The famous dance scene with Katherine, the twin sister, starts awkwardly, but Ms. Garbo proved she could hold her own against the partner that guides her around the night club's floor. Robert Alton has a tough time following Katherine.

"Two Faced Woman" might not have been Greta Garbo's best, but it not a total disappointment either. This film should be seen because it was her last film.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio forced Greta Garbo to take dancing lessons for this film, which she detested - once even hiding from her dancing instructor in a tree at her home.


Quotes

Katherine Borg: This is a strange rendezvous. In fact, in my experience, unique.


Goofs

When 'Katherine' utters the line, "I suppose when you spend all your time rolling about in the snow that it does something purifying for your character," the movement of Garbo's mouth does not match the last three words (i.e. when the shot changes to a side angle of her right face).


Alternate Versions

Although given a PCA approval certificate, the released film was heartily condemned by the Catholic Church, which applied enough pressure to force MGM to revise the film, and replace the existing copies for future bookings. The major problem was that Melvyn Douglas thought he was seducing his wife's twin sister in the original version, which also had a few risque scenes. These were eliminated, and a scene was added where Douglas calls the ski lodge to find out his wife left, so that he knows the twin is really his wife. The net effect was to reduce the movie's running time to 90 minutes (from the original 94 minutes). This is the version Turner Classic Movies shows every once in a while. This also might also explain the late copyright date and copyright length of 90 minutes.


Soundtracks

Chica-Choca
(uncredited)
Music by
Bronislau Kaper
Lyrics by Roni
Danced by Greta Garbo, Robert Alton and chorus of nightclub patrons

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Comedy | Romance

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