DEAD RINGER - REVIEW
Bette Davis playing a killer with an evil twin sister? Sounds amazing, right? Especially when you've seen her in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Dead Ringer just sounds like it could just be the best thing out there.
And yet director Paul Henreid somehow succeeds in making this one of the least impressive evil Bette movies. So what went wrong?
Well, for one thing the twin "effect" works about as well as the green screen in Hitchcock's Family Plot (obscure reference: it doesn't). Bette Davis also seems thrown throughout especially when she has to act alongside herself. There's delays in the conversations and she just doesn't sound natural or convincing.
The film also suffers from a slow rhythm with very little actual suspense making this a somewhat dull experience. Visually at least Dead Ringer does well and there are a few Hitchcock-style sequences, most notably the first murder, which are admittedly a treat.
One can't help but miss Olivia De Havilland's own twin movie The Dark Mirror, made in 1946, which did almost everything Dead Ringer tred to do but better and more entertainingly. It's no masterpiece either but at least it felt more polished and runs at a solid pace.
Overall, Dead Ringer is no turkey but it's no Baby Jane either. Slightly disappointing considering how great this could have been but as it stands, it's a fair attempt with Bette Davis always watchable no matter how disinterested she seems to be.
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