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While at a ski lodge, Larry Blake sees instructor Karin Borg and decides to sign up for private lessons. The next thing he knows, she is Mrs. Blake. When he announces that he is going back to work on his magazine in New York the next day, Karin refuses to go with him. She later comes to New York, buys expensive clothes, and goes to meet him when she sees he is with old flame Griselda. Caught by Blake's business partner, O.O. Miller, before she can leave, she explains that she is really Karin's twin sister Katherine. Hard to believe, but that is what she tries to make everyone, including Larry, believe. Larry, however, has serious doubts, but plays the game to the hilt as the worldly Katherine tries to take him away from both Griselda and Karin. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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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