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Dead Ringers (1988)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 24,336 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 105 user | 78 critic | 15 from Metacritic.com

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

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Title: Dead Ringers (1988)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Claire Niveau (as Genevieve Bujold)
...
Cary (as Heidi Von Palleske)
Barbara Gordon ...
Danuta
...
Laura
...
Wolleck / Anders Wolleck
Nick Nichols ...
Leo
Lynne Cormack ...
Arlene
Damir Andrei ...
Birchall
Miriam Newhouse ...
Mrs. Bookman
David Hughes ...
Superintendent
Richard W. Farrell ...
Dean of Medicine (as Richard Farrell)
Warren Davis ...
Anatomy Class Supervisor
Jonathan Haley ...
Beverly, Age 9
Nicholas Haley ...
Elliot, Age 9
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Storyline

The Mantle brothers are both doctors - both gynecologists - and identical twins. Mentally however, one of them is more confident than the other, and always manages to seduce the women he meets. When he's tired of his current partner, she is passed on to the other brother - without her knowing. Everything runs smoothly, until an actress visits their clinic, and the shy brother is the first to fall in love. Will they be able to 'share' her ? Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Two bodies. Two minds. One soul. Separation can be a terrifying thing.

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

23 September 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pacto de amor  »

Box Office

Gross:

$9,134,733 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Working title: "Gemini". The studio didn't like it, and so switched to "Twins". This was changed to "Dead Ringers" after Ivan Reitman, who had produced two of Cronenberg's early films, approached Cronenberg about purchasing the rights to use the title "Twins". Twins was then used for the Danny DeVito/Arnold Schwarzenegger film Twins (1988). See more »

Goofs

In a scene dated 1954, the twins seen are playing with The Visible Woman, Revell toy company's biological model of a woman that was not marketed until at least five years later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Elliot, Age 9: You've heard about sex...
Beverly, Age 9: Sure I have.
Elliot, Age 9: Well I've discovered why sex is.
Beverly, Age 9: You have? Fantastic.
Raffaella: It's because humans don't live under water.
Beverly, Age 9: I don't get it.
Elliot, Age 9: Well, fish don't need sex because they just lay the eggs and fertilize them in the water. Humans can't do that because they don't live in the water. They have to - internalize the water. Therefore we have sex.
Beverly, Age 9: So you mean humans would have sex if they lived in the water?
Elliot, Age 9: Well they'd have a kind of sex. The kind where you wouldn't ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Untitled 'Naked Lunch' Featurette (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Still of the Night (I'll Remember)
Performed by The Five Satins
under license from Arista Records, Inc.
Copyrighted by Llee Corp.
Composed by Fred Parris
See more »

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User Reviews

"Separation Can Be A Terrifying Thing"
24 January 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Identical twin brothers Beverly and Elly Mantle are successful gynaecologists in Toronto. Their relationship is intense and very close - perhaps too close. The Mantles experiment with sex, drugs and personal identity, to the detriment of their practice, and ultimately of their psychological health.

This is a David Cronenberg film, so we are in the familiar realm of horror, mind games and perverted science. The director/producer/writer appears in the credits above the title and even ahead of his stars, Irons and Bujold. Essentially, the 'dead ringers' of the title are the brothers, who regard their mental and emotional oneness as being something more. They see themselves as siamese twins, bound by their flesh, and fated to share every experience, even unto death.

Irons does wonders to play two complex characters in one movie. A new technique called 'motion control' allows the actor to appear as two people in the same frame, but there is also plenty of the old 'body double' method, filming over a shoulder, then reversing the angle.

As teenage boys, the Mantle twins are clearly very bright, and display a precocious interest in surgery and women's reproductive apparatus. They are also creepy geeks. By the late 1980's they are handsome forty-somethings, and hailed as brilliant gynaecologists by everyone in the medical profession.

The screen actress Claire Niveau becomes Elliot's patient, and the brothers are soon sharing her. They frequently swap places without her knowledge. She has a unique uterus, and as Beverly (or is it Elliot?) explores this feature with his fingers, it is difficult to tell whether he is examining her or masturbating her. Before long, both brothers are doing both to Claire.

Elliot is a few minutes older than Beverly, microscopically taller and a nuance darker in colouring, but by nature he and 'baby brother' are utterly different. While Beverly is shy and diffident, Elliot is a callous, manipulative smoothie. When Claire, still unaware that she is sleeping with two men, expresses an interest in mild masochism, Beverly recoils but Elly enthusiastically obliges. He uses surgical tubes and clamps to tie Claire down for sex, and as he releases her after orgasm, we sense that for him the experience has been 'surgical' - almost a dispassionate experiment.

If Beverly is Jeckyll and Elliot is Hyde, we are always conscious that both personalities inhabit one awareness. "You haven't had any experience until I've had it too," Elliot tells Beverly, and the twins certainly seem to share everything, treating each other's patients (without telling the patients, of course) and working in tandem on research papers. The twins have a twin obsession in common - work and sex. Beverly sums it up with, "We do women - that's our speciality."

Identity is at the core of this film, and the dualities and ambiguities of personality recur with brain-teasing frequency. The twins are interested in female genitalia, both professionally and recreationally. Claire attracts them because of her dualities - she is a big personality who adopts other personas for her work: a strong woman who is turned on by being submissive: a gynaecological 'star' who happens to be infertile: and the French Canadian 'twin' to the English Canadian brothers. Elliot sleeps with two call-girls who are twin sisters, and identifies them by getting each to call him either 'Bev' or 'Elly'. The film has layer upon layer of these dualities. Genevieve Bujold is a French Canadian actress playing a French Canadian actress. We see her being made up for a movie, but when we see her left side, the make-up is of cuts and bruises. The Mantles prescribe drugs to each other, and each to himself, criss-crossing the doctor/patient demarcation lines. They take pills to cure their addiction to pills. Cary is having a relationship with Elliot, but when she gets both brothers at once, she is deeply aroused. The film, like the brothers, oscillates between oneness and separation. "I want to see you two together," says Claire, confused by their duality. So do we.


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