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Dead Ringer (1964)

4.6 out of 5 stars 183 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Dead Ringer (DVD)

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.

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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

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bette Davis, Karl Malden, Peter Lawford, Philip Carey, Jean Hagen
  • Directors: Paul Henreid
  • Writers: Albert Beich, Oscar Millard
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, Dolby, Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 13, 2005
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00027JYLM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,032 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dead Ringer (1964)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 8, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Bette Davis plays Bette Davis not once but twice in this over-the-top story of a sister who kills and then replaces her twin. The result is a thoroughly far-fetched and yet somewhat predictable thriller that succeeds in being a tremendous amount of fun.
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.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is the second time Bette co-starred with herself; the first time was in "A Stolen Life"; however, do not look for that sort of quality here...the poor sister of the rich sister, Bette kills off her richer sibling and adopts her persona, and moves from her tawdry digs into the magnificent mansion in Beverly Hills. (The old Doheny estate, and the location for "Cinderfella" and "The Loved One.")
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...)
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Format: DVD
I have to admit I am an ardent Bette Davis fan. The first film of hers I ever saw was "Whatever Happened To baby Jane?" on late-night TV years ago, and I fell in love with her. I can't say I admire her like I do Joan Crawford, but Bette comes pretty close.
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!
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Format: DVD
If ever there were a movie equivalent of what Susan Sontag called Camp many years ago...this is it. Bette Davis stars as twins: one the rich, Champagne-driven, mansion living Margaret DeLorca, the other "Injun Country" area of Los Angeles (really Echo Park) living, beer guzzling, Karl Malden (Hobbson) loving Edith Phillips. Margaret is the bad twin, Edith the nice. But Edith is still holding a grudge against Margaret for stealing her man many years before and she aims to set things right, twenty years later.
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.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
The juicy thriller "Dead Ringer", is a personal favourite of mine and is a classic example of that curious genre that involved veteran performers appearing in macabre stories which sprung up in the early 1960's as a result of the sensational box office success of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?". The films made in the wake of Baby Jane's success were to provide many veteran actresses and actors such as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Ray Milland, with meaty leading roles in lower budgeted thrillers and horror stories for the rest of that decade. Whatever failings these films may possess critically they are still immensely entertaining and certainly gave the veteran actors involved a new lease of life career wise at the time. I believe that "Dead Ringer", starring the legendary Bette Davis in the dual roles of two long estranged identical sisters caught up in a web of envy, intrigue, deception and finally murder is one of the best of the cycle. Produced by Warner Bros., the studio where Davis was once the undisputed Queen in the 1930's and 40's, "Dead Ringer", has an irresistably expensive look to it and is the ultimate star vehicle for the ageing Davis where she gets the unique opportunity to act opposite herself. "Dead Ringer", and "Baby Jane", began a flurry of work for Davis for the next ten years in films of varying quality such as the Grand Guignol gems "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte", in 1964 and "The Nanny" in 1965 through to the truly bizarre "The Anniversary", in 1968. "Dead Ringer", however is one of the more intriguing efforts in this genre and Bette Davis as always gives her all in her dual roles.Read more ›
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