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The Two Mrs. Carrolls

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The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) starring Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck
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The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) starring Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck

 In The Two Mrs. Carrolls, Humphrey Bogart stars as a struggling artist, Geoffrey Carroll. He is (seemingly) happily married — until he meets Sally (Barbara Stanwyck). Apparently mentally ill, he returns home, where he paints a picture of his wife as the angel of death.  Then he begins to poison her.

After her death, he romances and marries Sally, and all is well at first. Until he begins to fall out of love with her, and paints a portrait of her, as well … As the angel of death.   Sally, however, begins to put pieces of the puzzle together, and realizes what her husband is trying to do.   In the meanwhile, Geoffrey is being blackmailed by someone who’s found out about the first murder. And who finds out why it’s a fatal mistake to blackmail a mentally ill homicidal man.

The final 30 minutes are the best of the film. Things come to a head, with excellent performances by both Bogart and Stanwyck.   He returns from the train station where he’s sending his young daughter (from his first marriage) away. Then he “kindly” gets his wife a glass of milk. Which she knows is poisoned.   In a tense moment, she nearly has to drink it. Until she’s literally saved by the bell as the phone rings.   Once he’s out of the room, she throws the poisoned milk out the window.  But her husband notices spilt milk on the floor, and realizes that she knows.

Deciding to blame a prowler for her murder, based on a headline from the newspaper, Geoffrey stages a break-in at their house, and goes upstairs to strangle Sally. She’s locked herself in her bedroom, and calls for help … as Geoffrey cuts the phone line …

In all, excellent performances by an excellent cast. Nigel Bruce also makes a small appearance as Barbara Stanwyck’s doctor.

Editorial review of The Two Mrs. Carrolls, courtesy of

Matrimony means different things to different people. For temperamental artist Geoffrey Carroll, it means he’s in his element. And out of his mind. In their only screen pairing, two of film’s all-time greats star in a psychological thriller rife with pelting rain and pealing bells, blackmail and murder, calculated dread and an unnerving finale. Humphrey Bogart portrays Geoffrey, who’s making a habit of poisoning one wife and marrying another when the former no longer inspires his canvases. Barbara Stanwyck plays his current wife Sally, who puts two and two together and comes up with six – as in six feet under, the place she’ll be if she continues to accept the glass of milk Geoffrey regularly offers as a nightcap. Alexis Smith also stars as a predatory neighbor who becomes the object of Geoffrey’s thirst for feminine variety. Drink up, thriller fans!

Movie quotes from The Two Mrs. Carrolls

Geoffrey Carroll (Humphrey Bogart): [final line] — Before we go, would you gentlemen like anything to drink? A glass of milk, perhaps? —

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