Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

DEAD RINGER


DEAD RINGER (1964). Director: Paul Henreid.

Edith Phillips (Bette Davis), a middle-aged bar owner in Los Angeles, attends the funeral of her sister Margaret DeLorca's (also Bette Davis) husband, the man that both women loved but whom Margaret managed to snatch away from her sister. When Edith learns that Margaret had completely made up that she was pregnant, she hatches a plot to take her place in the DeLorca mansion. But boy are there complications. It's great fun watching Davis, with her great flaring eyes, battling with herself (see photo), although in the early sequences it's obvious that it's not Davis under Margaret's black veil. Dead Ringer is entertaining and has lots of good twists. Karl Malden is a cop who loves Edith and Peter Lawford is Margaret's lover. Jean Hagen, Estelle Winwood, George Macready and Cyril Delevanti are also in the cast, and all are fine; Davis is in pretty good form as well. Andre Previn's theme music and romantic scoring are excellent. Not badly directed by Paul Henreid, Davis' leading man in Now,Voyager and Deception. The maid, Janet, is played by Monika Henreid, Paul's daughter. She was also in her father's Girls on the Loose and had about a dozen credits. Wonderfully ironic conclusion.

Verdict: One of Davis' better latter-day movies. ***.

2 comments:

Dead Ringers 1988 said...

The movie itself looks great with strong script. SPLENDID performances from both Irons and Bujold. I couldn't say any more about this film other than that seeing it is a life-enhancing experience.

William said...

Yes, but if you'd actually read the review you'd see that this post refers to a movie starring Bette Davis, not the similarly-titled film with Jeremy Irons. Is English your first language? Just asking.