The working-class twin sister of a callous, wealthy woman impulsively murders her out of revenge and assumes her identity. But impersonating her dead twin is more complicated and risky than she anticipated.
Aged, wealthy Charlotte Hollis has lived as a recluse in the crumbling family plantation mansion in Hollisport, Louisiana since her father Sam Hollis' death thirty-six years ago. The only people who regularly see her are her hard-as-nails but seemingly loyal housekeeper, Velma Crowther, and her longtime friend and physician, Dr. Drew Bayliss. She has lived there most of her life except for a short stint in London thirty-seven years ago following the vicious murder of her married lover, John Mayhew, at the plantation's summer house while Sam was hosting one of his legendary grand balls in the mansion. She and John had planned to run off together that night, but instead he was bludgeoned to death, his head and right hand severed from his body. Nobody was ever convicted for his murder, but most people believe Charlotte did it after John changed his mind about running off with her. They also believe that Charlotte, whom they haven't seen in years, is a crazy old woman. Conversely, ...Written by
When Olivia de Havilland agreed to make this movie, Director Robert Aldrich called Bette Davis to give her the good news. He also requested she keep the news a secret until he returned in two days, when he would legally inform Joan Crawford and her lawyer by letter. However, Bette didn't listen, she called her press agent, Rupert Allan, who immediately leaked the story to the press. See more »
When Miriam meets Jewel in public, a smiling young girl extra with a bouffant hairdo and a ribbon in her hair can be seen walking behind them. Seconds later, the same girl walks behind them again. See more »
They've told you I'm crazy.
Everyone say you are. Are you?
I used to be positive I wasn't. But just lately... at night... it - it seems as if... I really don't know anymore.
If it comes to that, how does anyone know?
See more »
My 8-star rating reflects my fondness for this movie, despite its imperfections. The extraordinary B&W photography builds a sumptuous noir atmosphere from the start, magnificently aided by Charlotte's stately home, by Aldrich's assured direction and, above all, by de Havilland's superlative performance, resting on a controlled, mellow voice that disguises a cunning criminal mind, and mesmeric eyes that convey more than any amount of words. Bette Davis' shrieking performance provides contrast to de Havilland's, but sadly limits her range. Cotten is a fit sidekick to de Havilland but this is clearly a woman's picture, and despite playing the part of a psychiatrist with some very clever tricks designed to confine Davis to a home for the mentally handicapped, he is no match to either woman in terms of smarts, and his uneven and clown-like character ultimately leaves the viewer in some uncertainty about his motivations.
Victor Buono and Agnes Moorehead provide splendid supporting performances; sound screenplay, with some sharp one-liners, although some of the dialogue and action could have been subtler; there are weaknesses in the story's structure (that letter at the end seems to serve no purpose other than relieve Davis of guilt - but by then she must have known that she was wrongfully accused of Dern's murder, just from listening to de Havilland and Cotten); but, every time I watch it, by the time the closing titles roll down, I'm happy to have re-watched this beguiling and beautiful film, however murky some of its characters might be. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this