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Chained for Life (1952)

4.2
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Ratings: 4.2/10 from 271 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 13 critic

A Siamese twin kills the husband who left her. The courts have to decide if she is convicted of murder, how can they punish her sister, who had nothing to do with the crime?

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(screenplay), (additional dialogue) (as Albert de Pina) , 1 more credit »
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Title: Chained for Life (1952)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Violet Hilton ...
Vivian Hamilton (as The Hilton Sisters)
Daisy Hilton ...
Dorothy Hamilton (as The Hilton Sisters)
Mario Laval ...
Andre Pariseau
...
Hinkley
Patricia Wright ...
Renée
Robert Keys ...
Defense Attorney (as Alan Keys)
Norval Mitchell ...
Judge Mitchell (as Norvel Mitchell)
Edna Holland ...
Mabel
Brian O'Hara
Herbert Lytton ...
District Attorney
Jack Mulhall ...
Dr. Thompson
James Hope ...
(as Jim Hope)
Roy Regnier
Zena Barry ...
(as Zena Bary)
Tony Iavello ...
Singer (as Tony Lavello)
Edit

Storyline

Siamese twins are a singing act, apparently in vaudeville. Their manager, to drum up business bribes a man who has a shooting act to become romantically involved with her. The bribe works and business increases dramatically. The man proposes marriage and the proposal is accepted. He walks out on her on their wedding night to remain with his assistant with whom he has a relationship. The sister of the rejected bride shoots him during his act. The movie starts with the judge, who is hearing the case without a jury, advises us, the audience, that this is a difficult case. The movie poses the question of whether he can punish the one who is the shooter without punishing the other sister. Written by davidfbook@sbcglobal.net

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Siamese Twins Playthings of Desire! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Film-Noir | Music

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enchaînées pour la vie  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Much of the plot was derived from real events in the lives of Siamese twins Daisy Hilton and Violet Hilton: the sham-marriage for publicity; the difficulty getting a marriage license due to morals concerns; the vaudeville singing career. See more »

Quotes

Vivian Hamilton: we've always said we were like other people yet different; from the moment we started to crawl and the leg of the table got between us and we couldn't pass.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Freaks (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Here It Is: The Ultimate, Weird Exploitation Flick

Director Harry L. Fraser, who gave us the unforgettable "I Accuse My Parents," went over the top with Hollywood's first (and, I suspect, lone) drama of the travails of two women who truly were, both in the film and in real life, inseparable.

Teen actresses and major merchandising mavens Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have been described as joined at the hip. That was the reality for former vaudevillians Violet and Daisy Hilton, the Siamese twins starring in this crime film. Violet is Vivian and Daisy is Dorothy, not that it matters much.

The twins, a bit long in the tooth when the movie was made, reprise their old hoofer routine in a show that includes a master marksman and his gal, a beautiful on-stage assistant. Having Vivian get married is a publicity idea which she accepts enthusiastically, her close sibling less so. But she comes around hoping for her sister's connubial joy. The intended groom is the show's Dead Eye Dick. His motive: money to go through with the wedding.

Complications arise including the refusal of a number of states to issue marriage licenses on the tenuous, indeed unsustainable, grounds that a marriage by one of the twins would constitute bigamy. Nonsense. In fact Siamese twins in the nineteenth century, never mind later, got married in the U.S. Vivian is jilted on her wedding night so we don't get to see any conjugal maneuvering (not that we would have seen much in a 1951 feature).

Vivian and Dorothy watch the marksman do his act and Dorothy casually shoots the guy dead. The film begins with a judge asking, from his desk, for help from moviegoers in deciding whether to find the homicidal woman guilty, the sentence then either requiring that the other also be executed or, if a lesser charge was sustained, both would go to the slammer. I imagine conversations going on long into the night by folks who viewed the film and couldn't stop talking about the jurist's dilemma. This is a film with a question about justice-unfortunately it's too arcane for any serious discussion.

Court scenes alternate with recounting of the tale. The courtroom is as fake as the plot. And the Alpha Video DVD cover's posters from the original release promise licentious tidbits that never come close to surfacing. "Joined Together How Can They Make Love?" "What Happens in Their Intimate Moments?" That's what I wanted to know and why I forked out $4.99 for the disc. Phooey.

4/10 (for its curiosity value)


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like to see better adaptation of their real lives dwpollar
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