Dead Ringer

(Paul Henreid, USA, 1964)


Bette Davis developed, in her mature years, a strange taste for over-the-top, gothic material (such as What Ever Happened to Baby Jane [1962]), complete with some kinky novelty element that allowed complete exhibitionistic release.

Today, these films are the height of fascinatingly unreal, strident camp.

In this one, Bette can yell at herself two-way (thanks to split-screen technology), playing twins in a clunky but riveting psychodrama of identity swapping and mistaken guilt.

Special note: keep an eye out for an amazing black jazz combo, scored by André Previn.

© Adrian Martin January 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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