Dead Ringer

"Very Good"

Dead Ringer Review


1964's Dead Ringer is the middle film in Bette Davis's personal trilogy of tacky terror, falling between the unforgettable What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and the slightly more forgettable but still tacky and terrifying Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. It almost seems as if Davis was trying to keep up with Joan Crawford, her archenemy and Baby Jane co-star, whose axe-murderess epic Strait-Jacket came out the same year. It's safe to say that 1964 was a weird year down at the Bijou.

Dead Ringer is a classic good twin/bad twin murder mystery and identity swap that will keep you on your toes. Davis, directed her by her Now, Voyager co-star Paul Henreid, plays the twins: Edie Phillips, the down-on-her-luck twin who runs a seedy bar in downtown L.A., and Margaret Phillips DeLorca, the just-widowed wife of an outrageously rich Spanish nobleman who lives in an enormous mansion decorated to look like a 17th-century Andalusian monastery. It's ookey and it's spooky.

When Edie finds out that Margaret stole DeLorca away from her with a false pregnancy scare in order to grab Mr. Moneybags for herself, she decides to pull the ultimate scam, luring Margaret down to the bar, killing her, puttting on her fancy clothes, and returning to the mansion in her limo. Edie is now Margaret. She may not have her man back, but she's got his real estate, not to mention the family jewels.

But can she pull it off? She'll have to fool plenty of people, including the eagle-eyed butler, the household's suspicious Great Dane, and the detective investigating "Edie's" death (Karl Malden). Big twist: the detective was also Edie's fiancé, so he's got a vested interest in finding out who did her in.

Another big twist: it turns out that Margaret has a gigolo/boyfriend, the slippery Tony Collins (Peter Lawford). How the heck will Edie/Margaret be able to keep up this charade with him? Turns out she can't, and the ensuing blackmail and double-crossing as the detective circles in closer and closer are plotted out with great elan.

Davis had actually played twins once before in 1946's A Stolen Life, and she must have enjoyed it enough to give it a second go. In fact, you can see the amusement in her eyes as she camps it up in the crucial scene in which the two sisters have their final confrontation. It's a must-see moment for any Davis fan and is probably performed to this day by better Bette Davis impersonators everywhere. Add the Addams Family-ish harpsichord soundtrack courtesy of Andre Previn, and you're all set. Ookey and spooky indeed.

Some good archival material can be found on the DVD, including a vintage featurette, along with retrospective commentary and an interview by Davis biographer Boze Hadleigh.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 19th February 1964

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 8

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: William H. Wright

Starring: as Margaret DeLorca / Edith Phillips, as Sergeant Jim Hobbson, as Tony Collins, as Sergeant Hoag, as Dede Marshall, as Paul Harrison, as Dona Anna, George Chandler as George, Chauffeur, Mario Alcalde as Garcia, Cyril Delevanti as Henry, the Butler, Monika Henreid as Janet, as Daniel 'Dan' Lister, Bartender, as Apartment Manager, Ken Lynch as Captain Johnson

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.