Dead Ringer (DVD)
The working class twin sister of a callous wealthy woman impulsively murders her out of revenge and assumes the identity of the dead woman. But impersonating her dead twin is more complicated and risky than she anticipated.
Hot on the heels of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
, Bette Davis slipped neatly into another juicy thriller. This time, instead of co-starring with Joan Crawford, she got to play opposite... herself. Dead Ringer
casts Davis as a wealthy (and nasty) widow, and also as her slatternly (but good) twin sister, long estranged. When the poor sister discovers the depths of her sib's evil, she takes a dramatic step that will test her skills as a thespian. Davis's old leading man, Paul Henreid, directs this material at a leaden pace, but Davis gives such a brazen performance, she pulls it through. Plus, the moments of high trash (a red-hot poker rammed into a hand, a lethal dog attack) are easily savored. Peter Lawford's seedy playboy and Karl Malden's stolid cop fill out the key supporting roles--not that anybody else matters. This is Bette Davis's world; everybody else is just visiting. --Robert Horton