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Dead Ringer (1964)
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What happened to Bette Davis after What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Her career was reborn. Warner Bros. encored it with another vehicle filled with Baby Jane-like bite and menace: Dead Ringer, stylishly directed by the lady's Now, Voyager costar Paul Henreid. Davis plays estranged identical twins. Unmarried Edith has no money, no future. Widow Margaret has fabulous wealth – all because of marriage to the man she stole from Edith years ago. Out of long-festering revenge, Edith kills Margaret and takes her place. But new friends and surroundings, a snoopy cop (Karl Malden) who was Edith's beau and the arrival of Margaret's secret lover (Peter Lawford) may expose her masquerade.]]>
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
This was bought as a gift for a family member who thought this is a good movie (I agree, it is) They have watched it twice and enjoy it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JC Cats
original "Ringer" movie it is the best! this is when I became a Bette Davis fan.Published 3 months ago by Barbara A. Todd
I'm a big Bette Davis fan. Very much enjoyed DEAD RINGER ... great story, leading cast, performances, sets, location. Good quality dvd.Published 3 months ago by MyReview4U
This is a fantastic movie. Bette Davis captures and communicates loneliness, isolation, desperation, and feeling of trapped with authenticity and a real depth of emotion. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cat
It Has A message don't be envy of someone and don't take revenge, you will end up losing.Published 3 months ago by juliette
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