Double your actress, double your fun…   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.02.22 at 00:22

Current mood: creativecreative

Here’s an update on what used to be one of the holy grails of Carole Lombard memorabilia — the portrait of two Caroles, created not through mirrors or reflections, but via camera trickery. We’ve seen it here a few times, but have never come across it in particularly good condition.Until now.Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to present the best-looking image of twin Lombards I have yet seen (with thanks to Tally Haugen for her work on this):

Not only is it far clearer than previous iterations of Carole x 2, but we’ve discovered it was a Paramount portrait with a p1202 number; in this case, it appears to be 736. That would make it from the spring or early summer of 1934, soon after photos showing off her new home on Hollywood Boulevard.

Why did Lombard agree to this? I’ve yet to see a snipe for this image, so we don’t have anything conclusive yet. It’s almost certainly an homage to Dorothy and Lillian Gish in “Orphans Of The Storm,” a D.W. Griffith film she may have seen during its first release in 1922. Perhaps someone suggested she should try some trick photography, or maybe this was her way of giving herself the sister she never had. Whatever, now that we have an idea of when it was issued, examining newspapers of the time (assuming a few of them ran this) could provide an answer.

Carole never played dual roles on screen, but quite a few of her contemporaries did. In honor of the concept, and since today is Feb. 22 (2/22), here are a few from classic Hollywood-era actresses. (We’re limiting ourselves to movies, so you won’t see Patty Duke here, nor will you see the evil or mischievous twins of fantasy females such as Samantha, Sabrina or Jeannie. Moreover, these are only adult roles, so I’ve also left out Hayley Mills and Lindsay Lohan in versions of “The Parent Trap.”) This isn’t meant to be a complete listing, mind you.

Bette Davis portrayed twin sisters on screen — in fact, she did it twice. Her debut as a multiple came in 1946, in “A Stolen Life”:

Some 18 years later, boosted by the recent Grand Guignol success she had with Crawford in “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?”, Bette again did the double trick in “Dead Ringer,” directed by her one-time co-star Paul Henreid:

Getting back to ’46, it turned out to be a good year for actress multiplicity. Olivia de Havilland did it in “The Dark Mirror” — heck, her selves even dress alike:

Did you know Loretta Young played a dual role, and at the tender age of 17, to boot? I didn’t, until the Warner Archive released 1930’s “Road To Paradise” as part of its recent pre-Code package of twofers (

And finally, both an actor and actress that Lombard knew did the dual trick on screen...with each other? You probably know who (and what) I’m referring to:

It’s Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea…and Claudette Colbert and Rudy Vallee…and Joel McCrea and Mary Astor…in Preston Sturges’ “The Palm Beach Story.” (Note neither Claudette had to worry about the wrong side of her profile showing.)

If I’ve missed any multiples of note, please let me know.

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Posted February 22, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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