Looking Backward: Two-Faced Woman (1941)

14 Aug

I should start by saying that the previously-mentioned reviews are fair. Two-Faced Woman is a middling movie at best, and it’s mostly because of Garbo, who plays two roles (sort of) and is miscast in both of them.

two-faced-woman

It’s also from the latter end of screwball, when for whatever reason a meanness crept into the proceedings. The couple (Garbo & Melvyn Douglas) seems grouchy all the time and the charm of the leads can’t make that go away. (I have similar feelings about Hitchcock’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith.)

I think the key to screwball may have something to do with surrounding likeable people with obstreperous nutjobs or immersing them in unusual situations (or, ideally, both)  instead of making their own relationships and personalities the problem. Also, surrounded by nutjobs of the proper magnitude, our beloved leads can have more flaws of their own without becoming hateful. (cf. Theodora Goes Wild and Nothing Sacred.)

But what do I know?

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