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The Dark Mirror (1946)

7.1
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A woman suspected of murdering her doctor boyfriend has an identical twin sister. When both twins have an alibi for the night of the murder, a psychiatrist is called in to assist a ... See full summary »

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Title: The Dark Mirror (1946)

The Dark Mirror (1946) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Terry / Ruth Collins
...
Dr. Scott Elliott
...
Lt. Stevenson
...
Rusty
Charles Evans ...
Dist. Atty. Girard
Garry Owen ...
Franklin (as Gary Owen)
Lela Bliss ...
Mrs. Didriksen
Lester Allen ...
George Benson
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Storyline

A woman suspected of murdering her doctor boyfriend has an identical twin sister. When both twins have an alibi for the night of the murder, a psychiatrist is called in to assist a detective in solving the case. Through a series of tests, he discovers which twin actually committed the crime and in the course of his investigation he falls in love with the normal twin. Written by Neil Doyle <Doylenf@msn.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Twins! One who loves... and one who loves to kill! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 October 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der schwarze Spiegel  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lt. Stevenson warns the sisters about a Rube Goldberg defense. This refers to the Pulitzer prize winning author and cartoonist (1883-1970) famous for his diagrams of complicated machines that perform simple tasks. He inspired Rube Goldberg Machine Contests that feature heavily on Youtube. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Elliott is sitting on the leather couch in his apartment talking to Lt. Stevenson, a moving shadow (from something above like a boom mic) appears on the lamp behind the doctor. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Scott Elliott: Not even nature can duplicate character, not even in twins.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Dark Mirror (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Frankie & Johnny
Music by Hughie Cannon (uncredited)
Played on the cigarette music-box in the Collins sisters' apartment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Not even nature can duplicate character, not even in twins"
9 January 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Psychology is a dubious science as it is, but, when a Hollywood screenwriter gets his hands on it, anything even closely resembling fact is thrown out the window. In the mid-1940s, Freudian psychology reached the peak of its popularity, and films such as Hitchcock's 'Spellbound (1945)' and Lang's 'Secret Beyond the Door… (1947)' utilised their own versions of psychoanalysis to provide easy answers for their characters' delusions. Robert Siodmak's 'The Dark Mirror (1946)' is no different, in that we are offered a half-baked pseudo-scientific dissertation on why even identical twins can be anything but identical when it comes to personality traits. In fact, screenwriter Nunnally Johnson (who also wrote and directed 'The Three Faces of Eve (1957)') actively pumps the familiar but questionable notion that twins respectively represent the good and evil sides of man. This duality is similar to that explored in the earlier versions of 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920/1931/1941),' though the two sides of the human coin are here separated from their mutual shell and allowed to behave as independent entities.

Olivia de Havilland excels in dual roles as Terry and Ruth Collins, twin sisters who might just have pulled off the perfect crime, even if only one knows it. When the sisters' shared boyfriend is murdered in cold blood, two witnesses place one of the twins at the scene of the crime, while three more provide a solid alibi for the other. The only problem is that nobody can tell the pair apart. A police detective (Thomas Mitchell) is torn apart by the case: how can he charge either woman with murder if he can't decide which of the sisters is, in fact, a murderess? Only through Hollywood's good friend Dr. Freud can the true nature of the crime be exposed. The distinction between the "good" and "insane" twin is clearly drawn early in the film, with de Havilland playing one sister, Terry, as a cocky dominator, and the other, Ruth, as more softly-spoken, with eyes always downcast and hands delicately clasped together. Clarifying the dual relationship is some convenient symbolism used in the film's climax: Terry is dressed in black, and Ruth in white.

Convincing optical effects and the use of body doubles are employed successfully to create the illusion of two Olivia de Havillands. The actress does well as both characters, perhaps channelling her dislike of sister Joan Fontaine to portray the snarling, psychotic and homicidally jealous "evil sister." Though they start out perfectly alike, it doesn't take long for the two Collins sisters to develop distinct personalities in the eyes of the audience, and Siodmak should quickly have dispensed with the obvious name-tags (either a necklace or a single letter pin) added to ensure that the audience could follow who was who. Perhaps misguidedly, the presence of twins is at first played largely for laughs, with composer Dimitri Tiomkin keeping the atmosphere surprisingly light and fluffy. Fortunately, however, the mood darkens substantially in the film's second half, as the hatred simmering slowly within the darker twin threatens to spill over into reality. Though the unlikely psychology behind 'The Dark Mirror' tests one's credulity at regular intervals, the strong acting and unique storyline make this one worth seeking out.


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