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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.