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

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Two Olivia De Havillands for the price of one
THE DARK MIRROR (1946). Director: Robert Siodmak.

Lt. Stevenson (Thomas Mitchell) is called in when a man is murdered and a woman named Terry Collins (Olivia de Havilland) has been identified by more than one witness as being at the victim's apartment that night. But she has an unshakable alibi -- and also an identical twin sister named Ruth. Stevenson realizes that the ladies have him over a barrel -- one probably committed murder and the other is an accessory, but which one do you put on trial for homicide? The cop enlists the aid of Dr. Scott Elliott (Lew Ayres) to find out what's up with the twins, but things get even more complicated when Elliott begins to fall for one of the women --- but which sister is it? This is an interesting cat and mouse game with good performances that is undermined a bit by some absurd dime-store psychology and Siodmak's rather routine direction. De Havilland is a bit Hollywoodish, but she has some very good moments as well. Ayres seems a trifle defeated by his role and the mumbo jumbo he has to utter. The special effects work is excellent and generally seamless. Siodmak also directed Son of Dracula and many others. Nice theme by Dimitri Tiomkin. Richard Long has a small role as Rusty. Bette Davis played twins the same year in A Stolen Life.

Verdict: Entertaining minor mystery. **1/2.

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