Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Paul Henreid - Dead Ringer (1964)



Hot on the heels of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Bette Davis slipped neatly into another juicy thriller. This time, instead of co-starring with Joan Crawford, she got to play opposite... herself. Dead Ringer casts Davis as a wealthy (and nasty) widow, and also as her slatternly (but good) twin sister, long estranged. When the poor sister discovers the depths of her sib's evil, she takes a dramatic step that will test her skills as a thespian. Davis's old leading man, Paul Henreid, directs this material at a leaden pace, but Davis gives such a brazen performance, she pulls it through. Plus, the moments of high trash (a red-hot poker rammed into a hand, a lethal dog attack) are easily savored. Peter Lawford's seedy playboy and Karl Malden's stolid cop fill out the key supporting roles -- not that anybody else matters. This is Bette Davis's world; everybody else is just visiting. -- Robert Horton (amazon.com)





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