I think Greta Garbo’s portrayal in “Two-Faced Woman,” released in 1941, gives an indication of her broad range. She plays Karen Borg, a rustic ski instructor who marries a magazine writer named Larry Blake, played by Melvyn Douglas. Larry returns to New York, but Karin thinks up a ruse to pose as her own twin sister (Katherine). Larry sees the sophisticated “Katherine” in New York and romances her; but Larry’s pretty sure it’s only Karin playing a joke on him.
In New York, Katherine meets Larry’s ex, Griselda, played by Constance Bennett. It’s a perfect role for her, as she gets to out-sophisticate the pranking Katherine. MGM considered the film to be a flop, but it’s still fun and Garbo and Bennett do a great job. Melvyn Douglas is sort a poor man’s Don Ameche; he plays the same kind of conniving suitor that Ameche played in “Heaven Can Wait,” the Ernst Lubitsch film from 1943.
The film has a similar plot to Preston Sturges’ and Paramount’s 1941 film “The Lady Eve,” starring Barbara Stanwyck in a double role and Henry Fonda. Garbo walked away from films forever after Two-Faced Woman, but it’s not a bad effort. She kept looking for a good script, but none materialized. George Cukor, the director of Two-Faced Woman, commented later that Greta Garbo never improvised and he respected her for that.