21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A Stolen Opportunity,
This review is from: A Stolen Life (1946) [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Bette Davis stars as twins after the same man. There's Good Bette, a sensitive, reserved artist, and there's Bad Bette, a socialite apparently without morals. Glenn Ford is the man who finds himself between them. He opts for Bad Bette, leaving Good Bette heartbroken and deflated, willing to accept berating from a rough artist, Dane Clark. However, she gets another chance, following a boating accident in which Bad Bette drowns, and people accidently assume it was Good Bette. She has the opportunity to take her sister's life and get back the man she wanted ... if she can pull it off. Like the twins, there are good and bad points to the film. On the good side, you have Davis and the effects. She does a very good job with two characterizations here, even when one is pretending to be the other. The special effects to create the illusion of twins are surprisingly good for 1946. It's not the usual split-screen work you would expect, but more complicated set-ups where they pass things to each other and appear to be touching. On the bad side would be the story and Ford. The story starts promisingly, but begins to fall apart after Ford chooses Bad Bette. The Dane Clark character is irrelevant to the film, since he does not figure into the resolution. The resolution is also very weak, neatly wrapping up a situation that is far too complicated to be so easily solved. Glenn Ford comes across very weakly here, a combination of a badly drawn character and poor performance. Davis and the special effects help to salvage the film. Too bad the script lets them down.
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Initial post: Oct 31, 2013 11:39:24 AM PDT
I find your review perfectly reasonable, but you should give this film another star.
In her later years Bette Davis had a slew of talky melodramas mostly set in interiors that, in my opinion, all kind of blend into each other. They're kinda a little too talky and sometimes kinda dull/dated.
This film is entirely different. It's a fun world of interiors and exteriors. City and coast. Rich people and starving artists. That Dane Clark character is there for an excellent story reason and provides a transitional opportunity for Good Bette... and by doing so... contributes to the resolution.
I hear you that the last line out of Glenn Ford's mouth is utterly painful. You almost want to say, gee, if they resorted to that nonsense why not do the 'wake up and it was all a bad dream' thing? So I hear you.
But what I'm trying to say here is that where many mediocre Davis films don't take risks in order to remain sensible but ultimately a little dull, A STOLEN LIFE goes crazy with twists and turns that --- for the most part -- really work UNTIL that admittingly disappointing ending.
This is the type of film you forgive the missteps and rewatch once every other year anyway.
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