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 ... See full summary »
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>
Rarely seen and oft-maligned, Greta Garbo's final film, "Two-Faced Woman," is an unexpected delight. Re-teamed with "Ninotchka" co-star Melvyn Douglas, Garbo plays a ski-instructor who literally overnight marries magazine publisher Douglas, only to wake up and discover some stark differences in their approach to life. Don't ask why or how, but the frothy, often quite funny, plot finds Garbo impersonating a fictitious twin sister to test Douglas's fidelity. While the role may have been better suited for Irene Dunne, Garbo nevertheless throws herself into the part and again proves her versatility. While Karin, her ski-instructor personality, has shades of Ninotchka, Katherine, the flirtatious gold digger twin, allows Garbo to shamelessly vamp, saucily dance, and bitchily spar with a hilarious Constance Bennett.
Although Garbo as Katherine rivets viewers' attention, Bennett shines and more than holds her own in the few scenes they share. Douglas is excellent as always, and the Garbo-Douglas duo should have made more films. Ruth Gordon underplays a small role, but both Roland Young and Robert Sterling have fun as Katherine's admirers. George Cukor's direction is fine, and the screwball-like screenplay, based on a play by Ludwig Fulda, may not hold up under scrutiny, but has enough hilarious moments to cover any gaps in logic.
The reasons behind Garbo's exit from the screen are many; but neither the quality of her final film nor her final delicious performance could be among them. Watching "Two-Faced Woman," one can only wistfully reflect on what film history lost by her departure. Garbo as Mrs. Paradine in "The Paradine Case" or as Mama in "I Remember Mama" would have been memorable, and, although Gloria Swanson was magnificent, Garbo as Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" would have been sublime. Unfortunately, Garbo turned down all three roles. While Karin/Katherine may not rank among the screen goddess's greatest roles or the movie among her greatest films, any Garbo film is a treasure, and, despite an undeservedly poor reputation, "Two-Faced Woman" is not just for Garbo devotees. Fine direction and humorous script, excellent supporting performances, particularly from Bennett, and a flamboyant star turn by Garbo deserve a much wider audience than the film has had.
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