Dead Ringer (1964)
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Academy Award winner Bette Davis stars in a dual role as a pair of evil twins--a jealous murderer and her wealthy widowed sister, her Dead Ringer.Twenty years ago, twins Edith and Margaret Phillips (Davis) both loved the same handsome, wealthy man. Margaret won the competition when she falsely claimed to be pregnant. Now Edith, envious of her recently widowed sister's life and wealth, murders Margaret and assumes her identity. But can she play the role well enough to fool suspicious police sergeant Hobbson (Academy Award winner Karl Malden--A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront) and handsome, gold-digging playboy Tony Collins (Peter Lawford)?Based on the story "La Otra" aka "Dead Pigeon" by Rian James.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
Karl Malden and Peter Lawford fill out the cast, but the film belongs to Davis, and she clearly relishes the film's every excess, owning the script like a tailor-made gown. Indeed, much of the pleasure in watching DEAD RINGERS is the fun of seeing Davis play with such little restraint, and the movie makes use of every Davis mannerism imaginable.
This movie will never make any critic's short list, and over her long career Davis certainly made a great many finer films and gave a great many more artful performances. But as a late-night popcorn fest for Bette Davis fans, DEAD RINGERS is hard to beat.
I enjoy Peter Lawford in anything, a truly underappreciated actor and a really nice man. He is enjoyably slimy in this role, and adds the right note for the jaded, rather tired boyfriend. Karl Malden is sad, and you feel sorry for him;; he was so devoted to the poor sister...the star of the show is Ms. Davis, and the fabulous house and grounds. Don't look for high, quality drama here, but rather, an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday night.
(NOTE: The Doheny estate, built in the early 1920s, is specatacular, and boasts several streets with signs for it's 25 acres of grounds, and it has a children's playhouse with fireplace and kitchen, etc., that rivals anything I've ever seen...and three guest houses, larger and more magnificent than most mansions! Also a bowling alley, a real movie theatre and over 30 bedrooms in the servants quarters. There was murder there, around 1929, the father caught his son with the butler, and shot and killed him; the son was put away in an asylum. Quite a history, and quite a setting...)
I've been lucky to pretty much see all her films over the years, but I really like her 1960's stuff the best; perhaps its watching how Miss Davis tears up the scenery, as well as her co-stars that makes me such a Bette fan, but I do believe a lot of her later motion pictures are underated and often ignored. These films, often known by some critics as "hag-films", are true classics. Bette, along with Joan, had one of the longest careers in pictures, and how they managed to survive, in an industry that swallows careers and actresses at whim, is a testament to how good they were at their profession.
"Dead Ringer" is well acted, directed, and superbly cast. In it we see Bette playing twin sisters, one good, one bad. One sister steals the identity of the other in order to live her ellegant lifestyle to the fullest. There are many plot twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent viewer, and the film flys by fast. Karl Malden has a secondary role as one of Bette's boyfriends, and Peter Lawford plays one of the best villins in '60s films.
Sit back and enjoy a good Bette Davis potboiler.
The film is beautifully restored and the DVD features an informative documentary on the movie. Author Boze Hadleigh is interviewed and offers some insightful info on "Dead Ringer" and Bette Davis. If you think Bette was good in "Baby Jane" wait until you see her in this one!
Davis chews up the scenery as only she can when given full rein of her performance and her director, Paul Henreid, who starred with her in "Now Voyager" knew better than to get in her way.
"Dead Ringer" is a hell-of-a-lot-of-fun and the commentary from Charles Busch is appropriately outrageous. This is a movie that both you and your Mom can love: twist the top off a quart of Schlitz, bake up some Velveeta Mac `n' Cheese, get out two spoons and enjoy every morsel of this delicious movie.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a big Bette Davis fan. This was not one of her best movies, but I do love her versatility in this role. It's a 'fun' movie. And Karl Malden is always a great character. Read morePublished 5 days ago by J. McCullough
Excellent Davis Movie. A must for your collection. However since these are nothing more than DVD-RW (copies) you're taking a chance. This one scrambled a couple times.Published 25 days ago by Book Collector
Loved this film when I was young and still enjoy it now. Davis played a double role as twin sisters and the special effects were very interesting. We've come a long way. Read morePublished 2 months ago by RoxyRlz
Hey all of you Bette Davis fans this is a "sleeper" noir-ish sensation I stumbled upon. Don't let the silly harpsichord sound track effects distract you. Read morePublished 3 months ago by thomas browne
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