Dead Ringer


1h 55m 1964
Dead Ringer

Brief Synopsis

A woman murders her rich twin and tries to take her place.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Mystery
Thriller
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 29 Jan 1964
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

After a separation of 18 years, Edith Philips meets her twin, Margaret de Lorca, at the funeral of the latter's husband, whom Edith also loved. When Edith learns that Margaret had tricked the man into marriage, she becomes so filled with hatred that she lures Margaret to her apartment, signs her own name to a suicide note, and then shoots her sister. After changing clothes with the corpse, she moves into the de Lorca mansion and begins living her sister's life. The masquerade works until she meets Tony Collins, Margaret's secret lover. When he learns of the deception and threatens to blackmail her, Edith realizes that he and Margaret conspired to murder de Lorca. A fight ensues, and Tony is killed by the family's Great Dane. The police become suspicious and exhume the body of the dead husband. Arsenic is found, and Edith is arrested for murder. Although she tries to convince her former suitor, Sgt. Jim Hobbson, that she is really Edith, he refuses to believe her story, and she is sentenced to the gas chamber.

Photo Collections

Dead Ringer - Movie Poster
Dead Ringer - Movie Poster

Videos

Movie Clip

Dead Ringer (1964) - I Want To Hear All About You Immediately from director Paul Henreid’s credit, at the Rosedale Cemetery southwest of downtown Los Angeles, Bette Davis off a bus to a funeral, where she meets a veiled person who seems to have the same voice, in Dead Ringer, 1964, co-starring Karl Malden and Peter Lawford.
Dead Ringer (1964) - Money's No Object Trick shots from director Paul Henried, directing two Bette Davises, as newly-acquainted long-estranged twin sisters, financially stressed Edie having lured wealthy Margaret to her home, making her confess to stealing her now-deceased husband, her scheme revealed, in Dead Ringer, 1964.
Dead Ringer (1964) - Thank God That's Over Comments and voices have suggested that Edie, whom we’ve met, and her veiled companion, are both Bette Davis, the former brought home by the latter from what we learn was her husband’s funeral, with further exposition, early in Dead Ringer, 1964, directed by Paul Henreid.
Dead Ringer (1964) - The Prize You Get We’ve just met Karl Malden as cop Jim, visiting his sweetheart, LA bar-owner Edie (Bette Davis), who’s just been to the funeral of her wealthy and long-estranged twin sister’s husband, who was her own former lover, their meeting having upset her, to his frustration, early in Dead Ringer 1964.
Dead Ringer (1964) - I Forgot How To Spell The Name Bette Davis is formerly down-and-out Edie, successfully having taken the place of her wealthy enemy twin-sister Margaret, whom she murdered, at her first society event, friend Dede (Jean Hagen) bringing her to Tony (Peter Lawford), about whom she knows nothing, in Dead Ringer, 1964.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Mystery
Thriller
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 29 Jan 1964
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White

Articles

Dead Ringer


You get two Bette Davis's for the price of one in Dead Ringer (1964) but that's not the first time Bette's pulled this 'seeing double' stunt. In A Stolen Life (1946), Ms. Davis played Kate and Patricia, identical twins in love with the same man (Glenn Ford). When Patricia is accidentally drowned in a boating accident, Kate takes her sister's place and marries Patricia's fiancée, though he doesn't suspect the switch at first. For Dead Ringer, the plot twists are more macabre, involving murder, blackmail, and death by Great Dane. Once again, Bette plays twin sisters. Edith is the poor one, a tavern owner who plots to avenge herself on her wealthy twin Margaret for a past incident that ruined her life.

Dead Ringer went into production shortly after the surprise success of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) which established Davis as the new queen of Grand Guignol. One of the locations used was the Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills which eventually became the location of the American Film Institute. Davis' former co-star and friend Paul Henreid was brought in to direct and his daughter Monica was even cast in a small role as a suspicious maid. The cinematographer was Ernest Haller (it was his final film) who had created the trick process shots in A Stolen Life and would improve upon the process here. Makeup artist Gene Hibbs was also hired due to his unique talent for making older actresses look younger through a "painting" technique. Best of all, Davis was surrounded with an excellent ensemble cast including Karl Malden, Jean Hagen, George MacReady, Estelle Winwood, and Peter Lawford, who was currently the brother-in-law of President John F. Kennedy. Lawford had originally been slated to play the opportunistic mama's boy in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? but got cold feet at the last minute and Victor Buono took the part instead.

During its release, Dead Ringer was more enthusiastically received in Europe than the United States. Davis was later quoted in the biography, Mother Goddam by Whitney Stine, saying, "The original script of Dead Ringer was appallingly bad. Paul and I worked very hard to make it plausible at all. We did not completely succeed. We also were forced by Warner Bros. to change the ending we first filmed. The Warner ending was so ordinary. Paul Henreid did a beautiful job as director....plus Connie Cezon was such an unbelievable double for me - we could actually use her in some of the scenes." Regardless of Ms. Davis' reservations about Dead Ringer, any true fan of her work will not be disappointed and her brief rendition of "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" is hard to forget. TV stations were notorious for editing this sequence in order for it to play within a two hour time slot with commercials.

Director: Paul Henreid
Producer: William H. Wright
Screenplay: Oscar Millard, Albert Beich, Rian James, based on the story "La Otra"
Cinematography: Ernest Haller
Editor: Folmar Blangsted
Art Direction: Perry Ferguson
Music: Andre Previn
Cast: Bette Davis (Margaret/Edith Phillips), Karl Malden (Sergeant Hobbson), Peter Lawford (Tony Collins), Philip Carey (Sergeant Hoag), Jean Hagen (Dede Marshall), George Macready (Paul Harrison), Estelle Winwood (Dona Anna).
BW-116m. Letterboxed.

By Jeff Stafford
Dead Ringer

Dead Ringer

You get two Bette Davis's for the price of one in Dead Ringer (1964) but that's not the first time Bette's pulled this 'seeing double' stunt. In A Stolen Life (1946), Ms. Davis played Kate and Patricia, identical twins in love with the same man (Glenn Ford). When Patricia is accidentally drowned in a boating accident, Kate takes her sister's place and marries Patricia's fiancée, though he doesn't suspect the switch at first. For Dead Ringer, the plot twists are more macabre, involving murder, blackmail, and death by Great Dane. Once again, Bette plays twin sisters. Edith is the poor one, a tavern owner who plots to avenge herself on her wealthy twin Margaret for a past incident that ruined her life. Dead Ringer went into production shortly after the surprise success of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) which established Davis as the new queen of Grand Guignol. One of the locations used was the Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills which eventually became the location of the American Film Institute. Davis' former co-star and friend Paul Henreid was brought in to direct and his daughter Monica was even cast in a small role as a suspicious maid. The cinematographer was Ernest Haller (it was his final film) who had created the trick process shots in A Stolen Life and would improve upon the process here. Makeup artist Gene Hibbs was also hired due to his unique talent for making older actresses look younger through a "painting" technique. Best of all, Davis was surrounded with an excellent ensemble cast including Karl Malden, Jean Hagen, George MacReady, Estelle Winwood, and Peter Lawford, who was currently the brother-in-law of President John F. Kennedy. Lawford had originally been slated to play the opportunistic mama's boy in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? but got cold feet at the last minute and Victor Buono took the part instead. During its release, Dead Ringer was more enthusiastically received in Europe than the United States. Davis was later quoted in the biography, Mother Goddam by Whitney Stine, saying, "The original script of Dead Ringer was appallingly bad. Paul and I worked very hard to make it plausible at all. We did not completely succeed. We also were forced by Warner Bros. to change the ending we first filmed. The Warner ending was so ordinary. Paul Henreid did a beautiful job as director....plus Connie Cezon was such an unbelievable double for me - we could actually use her in some of the scenes." Regardless of Ms. Davis' reservations about Dead Ringer, any true fan of her work will not be disappointed and her brief rendition of "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" is hard to forget. TV stations were notorious for editing this sequence in order for it to play within a two hour time slot with commercials. Director: Paul Henreid Producer: William H. Wright Screenplay: Oscar Millard, Albert Beich, Rian James, based on the story "La Otra" Cinematography: Ernest Haller Editor: Folmar Blangsted Art Direction: Perry Ferguson Music: Andre Previn Cast: Bette Davis (Margaret/Edith Phillips), Karl Malden (Sergeant Hobbson), Peter Lawford (Tony Collins), Philip Carey (Sergeant Hoag), Jean Hagen (Dede Marshall), George Macready (Paul Harrison), Estelle Winwood (Dona Anna). BW-116m. Letterboxed. By Jeff Stafford

Dead Ringer on DVD


You get two Bette Davises for the price of one in Dead Ringer (1964) - now on DVD from Warner Video - but that's not the first time Bette's pulled this 'seeing double' stunt. In A Stolen Life (1946), Ms. Davis played Kate and Patricia, identical twins in love with the same man (Glenn Ford). When Patricia is accidentally drowned in a boating accident, Kate takes her sister's place and marries Patricia's fiancée, though he doesn't suspect the switch at first. For Dead Ringer, the plot twists are more macabre, involving murder, blackmail, and death by Great Dane. Once again, Bette plays twin sisters. Edith is the poor one, a tavern owner who plots to avenge herself on her wealthy twin Margaret for a past incident that ruined her life.

Dead Ringer went into production shortly after the surprise success of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) which established Davis as the new queen of Grand Guignol. One of the locations used was the Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills which eventually became the location of the American Film Institute. Davis' former co-star and friend Paul Henreid was brought in to direct and his daughter Monica was even cast in a small role as a suspicious maid. The cinematographer was Ernest Haller (it was his final film) who had created the trick process shots in A Stolen Life and would improve upon the process here. Makeup artist Gene Hibbs was also hired due to his unique talent for making older actresses look younger through a "painting" technique. Best of all, Davis was surrounded with an excellent ensemble cast including Karl Malden, Jean Hagen, George MacReady, Estelle Winwood, and Peter Lawford, who was currently the brother-in-law of President John F. Kennedy. Lawford had originally been slated to play the opportunistic mama's boy in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? but got cold feet at the last minute and Victor Buono took the part instead.

During its release, Dead Ringer was more enthusiastically received in Europe than the United States. Davis was later quoted in the biography, Mother Goddam by Whitney Stine, saying, "The original script of Dead Ringer was appallingly bad. Paul and I worked very hard to make it plausible at all. We did not completely succeed. We also were forced by Warner Bros. to change the ending we first filmed. The Warner ending was so ordinary. Paul Henreid did a beautiful job as director....plus Connie Cezon was such an unbelievable double for me - we could actually use her in some of the scenes."

Regardless of Ms. Davis' reservations about Dead Ringer, any true fan of her work will not be disappointed and her brief rendition of "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" is hard to forget. TV stations were notorious for editing this sequence in order for it to play within a two hour time slot with commercials

The Warner Video DVD of Dead Ringer presents the movie in its widescreen anamorphic format and the black and white levels are rich with detail. The mono audio is also fine and Andre Previn's gothic harpsichord score is a nice touch. As for extras, you get the original trailer (contains spoilers), "Double Take: A Conversation with Boze Hadleigh" (in which Ms. Davis's biographer reveals numerous insider facts about the actress), and "Behind the Scenes at the Doheny Mansion," a wonderful featurette with on the set clips of Davis, Lawford (he looks hungover when he first arrives by limo) and other cast members. For Bette Davis fans, the disc is especially recommended since the commentary track features plenty of biographical details and juicy gossip from author Boze Hadleigh and Davis impersonator/writer Charles Busch (he can currently be seen in the black comedy, Die, Mommie, Die).

To order Dead Ringer, click here. Explore more Bette Davis titles here. Explore more Karl Malden titles here.

by Jeff Stafford

Dead Ringer on DVD

You get two Bette Davises for the price of one in Dead Ringer (1964) - now on DVD from Warner Video - but that's not the first time Bette's pulled this 'seeing double' stunt. In A Stolen Life (1946), Ms. Davis played Kate and Patricia, identical twins in love with the same man (Glenn Ford). When Patricia is accidentally drowned in a boating accident, Kate takes her sister's place and marries Patricia's fiancée, though he doesn't suspect the switch at first. For Dead Ringer, the plot twists are more macabre, involving murder, blackmail, and death by Great Dane. Once again, Bette plays twin sisters. Edith is the poor one, a tavern owner who plots to avenge herself on her wealthy twin Margaret for a past incident that ruined her life. Dead Ringer went into production shortly after the surprise success of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) which established Davis as the new queen of Grand Guignol. One of the locations used was the Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills which eventually became the location of the American Film Institute. Davis' former co-star and friend Paul Henreid was brought in to direct and his daughter Monica was even cast in a small role as a suspicious maid. The cinematographer was Ernest Haller (it was his final film) who had created the trick process shots in A Stolen Life and would improve upon the process here. Makeup artist Gene Hibbs was also hired due to his unique talent for making older actresses look younger through a "painting" technique. Best of all, Davis was surrounded with an excellent ensemble cast including Karl Malden, Jean Hagen, George MacReady, Estelle Winwood, and Peter Lawford, who was currently the brother-in-law of President John F. Kennedy. Lawford had originally been slated to play the opportunistic mama's boy in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? but got cold feet at the last minute and Victor Buono took the part instead. During its release, Dead Ringer was more enthusiastically received in Europe than the United States. Davis was later quoted in the biography, Mother Goddam by Whitney Stine, saying, "The original script of Dead Ringer was appallingly bad. Paul and I worked very hard to make it plausible at all. We did not completely succeed. We also were forced by Warner Bros. to change the ending we first filmed. The Warner ending was so ordinary. Paul Henreid did a beautiful job as director....plus Connie Cezon was such an unbelievable double for me - we could actually use her in some of the scenes." Regardless of Ms. Davis' reservations about Dead Ringer, any true fan of her work will not be disappointed and her brief rendition of "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" is hard to forget. TV stations were notorious for editing this sequence in order for it to play within a two hour time slot with commercials The Warner Video DVD of Dead Ringer presents the movie in its widescreen anamorphic format and the black and white levels are rich with detail. The mono audio is also fine and Andre Previn's gothic harpsichord score is a nice touch. As for extras, you get the original trailer (contains spoilers), "Double Take: A Conversation with Boze Hadleigh" (in which Ms. Davis's biographer reveals numerous insider facts about the actress), and "Behind the Scenes at the Doheny Mansion," a wonderful featurette with on the set clips of Davis, Lawford (he looks hungover when he first arrives by limo) and other cast members. For Bette Davis fans, the disc is especially recommended since the commentary track features plenty of biographical details and juicy gossip from author Boze Hadleigh and Davis impersonator/writer Charles Busch (he can currently be seen in the black comedy, Die, Mommie, Die). To order Dead Ringer, click here. Explore more Bette Davis titles here. Explore more Karl Malden titles here. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1964

Released in United States on Video May 6, 1992

Released in United States 1964

Released in United States on Video May 6, 1992