Dead Ringer (1964)

Dead Ringer

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

Portraying flip sides of the good/evil coin, two sisters (both played by Bette Davis) haven't spoken to each other since fighting over a man long ago. One sister marries the man only after telling him the falsehood that she was pregnant by him. Although that fact is bad enough, the other sister proves her dominance of evil. The film was remade for television as Killer in the Mirror.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Rian James, Albert Beich, Oscar Millard
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 10, 2004
Runtime:
Warner Bros. Pictures

Cast


as Edith/Margaret

as Sgt. Jim Hobbson

as Tony Collins

as Sgt. Ben Hoag

as Dede

as Paul Harrison

as Matriarch

as Apartment Manager

as Capt. Johnson

as Defense Lawyer
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Critic Reviews for Dead Ringer

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Bette Davis passionately plays evil twins in this very good Hitchcock-like noir thriller directed by Casablanca actor Paul Henreid.

Full Review… | February 1, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Bette Davis was always high camp, but in a film like Dead Ringer (where she plays identical twins), what could possibly be more camp than two Bette Davises?

Full Review… | August 17, 2004
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Harnesses the complex psychological implications of physical doubling.

Full Review… | August 17, 2004
Slant Magazine

Ookey and spooky

Full Review… | July 9, 2004
Filmcritic.com

Solidly crafted, but uninspired and tepid thriller with Bette not at her best.

November 24, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Dead Ringer

Another in a string of Bette Davis' comeback movies of the sixties, "Dead Ringer" feels and looks recycled, but has all the mystery and charm of a Davis' film. What feels recycled ultimately boils down to the fact that many of the pieces of the plot are the same as other, better films. Davis had played identical twins earlier in the 1946 film "A Stolen Life" and Olivia de Havilland had basically played the same kind of role in a very similar film entitled "The Dark Mirror" from that same year. Murderous twins have always been an interesting thriller concept and noir staple, because of the extremes that siblings can present when they are given the chance to kill. Davis was reemerging in the public sphere after her Oscar nominated turn in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?". This film and another film of that decade put Davis back into the limelight and with good reason. She was the queen of the film noir as well as acted in dramatic turns in the thirties and forties. This film exploits her popularity to the fullest, as well as her newfound fame, and without her this film would not have had the same impact, and wouldn't have been enjoyable. Another great performance in this film comes from legendary actor Karl Malden. It's his curiosity into the death of his girlfriend and compassion towards her twin sister that really makes a statement about how a person changes when they murder someone, no matter how sweet or innocent they were beforehand. It seems obvious why Edie kills Margaret: because she is in debt, her sister has everything because she married her former beau, and Edie has had a hard, miserable life. Her impersonation of her sister isn't always spot on, and the ensuing story about her living day to day, trying to keep up the mirage she's concocted, doesn't do much except tell us about the social life of Margaret. The film doesn't say much about Edie as a character, or how she feels while deceiving everyone, including her boyfriend, which is especially damning. She is immediately demonized after killing her sister, and is oftentimes shown to be unreliable, calculating, and very bitter. This film only emphasizes Davis, and most of the film is exposition that includes her own musings. The peripheral characters are mostly slags and socialites, and except for Karl Malden, none of them give any insight into the character of Margaret, who remains a mystery except for what little insight Tony gives us, which is only that he exists. Only the ending tells us anything about either twin, gives us any moral, or any damning existential question.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

½

A twist ending is the cherry on top of this okay thriller spiced with performances by always solid method actor Karl Malden and gliding-by-on-my-looks pretty boy, Peter Lawford , but anchored by the grande dame w/o the self parody that tainted her later work. Look to see the difference between how Bette smooches Karl, her boyfriend, and Peter, her, uh, other boyfriend, its worth the admission price alone.

ApeneckFletcher
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

This is a cool thriller, Davis plays twins, and the rest of the cast is good too. I really liked this movie, it's thrilling.

ajv2688
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Dead Ringer Quotes

– Submitted by Eric J (3 years ago)

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