Trouble for Two

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Trouble for Two
Poster - Trouble for Two 01.jpg
Directed by J. Walter Ruben
Produced by Louis D. Lighton
Written by Robert Louis Stevenson (story)
Edward E. Paramore Jr.
Manuel Seff
Starring Robert Montgomery
Rosalind Russell
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Charles G. Clarke
Edited by Robert J. Kern
Release date
  • May 29, 1936 (1936-05-29)
Running time
75 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Trouble for Two is a 1936 film starring Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell. It is based on The Suicide Club, a short story collection by Robert Louis Stevenson. A European prince, unhappy over an impending arranged marriage, finds intrigue at an unusual London club.


Prince Florizel of Carovia (Robert Montgomery) is unpleasantly surprised to learn that negotiations for his marriage to Princess Brenda of Irania are far advanced. He has not seen his intended bride since they were children, and at the time, he was not impressed. Luckily for him, Brenda is equally unwilling to marry him, likening it to "buying a pig in a poke". However, his father, the King (E. E. Clive), reminds him of his duty and their somewhat precarious position; only three years earlier, a revolution was suppressed, and the ringleaders are still at large. The King sends his son to London to think things over, accompanied by Colonel Geraldine (Frank Morgan).

Traveling incognito, Florizel meets a mysterious woman, Miss Vandeleur (Rosalind Russell) aboard the ship bound for London. She asks him to keep an envelope and return it to her after they arrive. Intrigued, he intervenes when a menacing man enters her cabin to demand the papers, but waits in vain for her at the dock. Geraldine suspects she is part of an assassination conspiracy against the prince when a steward informs them her cabin was unoccupied for the voyage. When Geraldine opens the envelope, they find only blank paper.

In London, they are dining at a restaurant when a young man (Louis Hayward) enters with servants bearing trays of cream tarts and asks a woman patron to eat one. Suspicious, she refuses, so he consumes it himself. When the man asks Florizel, saying he offers them in the "spirit of mockery," the prince not only accepts, he splits up the remaining ten tarts with the man and Geraldine, and asks him to dinner to hear his story. The man, Cecil Barnley, confesses to having frivolously squandered his fortune and has embarked on one last silly lark before ending his life at the secret Suicide Club, which arranges deaths in such a manner as to avoid embarrassing its members or their families. Florizel, not convinced by Barnley but curious about his claims, pretends that both he and Geraldine also want to commit suicide, and persuades Barnley to take them to the club-Geraldine is represented as being an army officer disgraced for cheating at cards and Florizel claims that he is tired of looking at himself.

They are scrutinized before being admitted by its president (Reginald Owen). Inside, Florizel is surprised to find Miss Vandeleur, the sole woman in a roomful of men. The president then deals each person a card: the one who gets the ace of spades is to be killed by the one dealt the ace of clubs. On this night, it is determined that Barnley is to be dispatched by Miss Vandeleur following the instructions of the president. Forizel remains unconvinced that what they saw was real and laughs it off.

The next morning, however, the newspaper reports Barnley's death. Disbelieving that the girl is a murderer, Florizel returns that night. The procedure is repeated and this time, Miss Vandeleur is to do away with Florizel. She takes him to the zoo, where he is to be torn apart by a lion. However, she is unable to go through with it. She confesses that she convinced Barnley to keep on living and gave him some money to go to Paris. Just then someone attempts to shoot the prince and they flee to an inn. Miss Vandeleur tells him that only the president knew where they were going.

She reveals herself as Princess Brenda and that she had recognized him aboard the ship. The next day, Florizel and Geraldine are captured by a ruse arranged by the club president, who is actually Dr. Franz Noel, a Carovian exiled for treason, who had created the Suicide Club as a means of income, only to be surprised by Florizel's arrival. Noel sentences Florizel to death by hanging for treason. Florizel escapes, but Dr. Noel gets away with Geraldine as his captive. Dr. Noel offers to spare his prisoner's life if Florizel will agree to a duel to the death, and to come alone. Florizel accepts, but Princess Brenda cautions him about a trap. Florizel recruits gentlemen with military experience and a spirit for adventure to assist him surreptitiously. Florizel's recruits follow him using a bloodhound and rescue him from the trap. The prince engages Dr. Noel in an actual duel, using swords, alone in a room, with the winner to go free. Shortly after, the prince and princess are "introduced" to each other at the court of Carovia.


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