The Man With Two Faces (1934)

Article #435 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing day: 5-24-2002
Posting day: 10-17-2002

An actor uses his thespian abilities to protect his sister from the influence of her evil husband.

This is an entertaining version of a play called “Dark Tower,” written by George S. Kaufman and Alexander Woolcott, and it is quite witty and a lot of fun. Edward G. Robinson has a great time as Damon Wells (the actor), Mary Astor is his sister, and Louis Calhern is witty and sinister as the husband. Of course, as entertaining as it is, there is still the question as to why it’s included here; by normal standards, it certainly doesn’t qualify as fantastic cinema. The answer lies in the fact that the husband may be using hypnotism to secure the services of his victim, and Mary Astor’s somnambulent performance when she comes under his influence backs that up. Granted, this still makes this movie the most marginal one I’ve covered since NIGHT UNTO NIGHT, but I’ve always believed that to understand the definition of fantastic cinema, it always pays to look at the stuff hovering around the edges.

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