Thursday, October 31, 2013

Murder/Suspense Drama Film Review: Dead Ringer (1964)

Happy Halloween everyone!

I'm not doing a whole lot to celebrate this year (pumpkin lights from the dollar section at Target count, right?) so I thought I'd be festive by reviewing an excellent murder/suspense film I watched recently, Dead Ringer (1964) with the incomparable Bette Davis! 

So as you can see, Bette Davis plays twins - rich, newly widowed Margaret de Lorca, and working-class Edith Phillips, owner of Edie's, a struggling cocktail bar. The two estranged sisters are brought together for the funeral of Margaret's husband (who just so happens to be the man Margaret stole from Edith years ago). The women keep up appearances at first, but things soon go steadily downhill.

Speaking of going downhill, one of the opening scenes of the movie we see a bus pull up to the cemetery and Edie step out. Take a look at the area in 1964, and now:

Look at those nicely manicured trees and clean streets with un-cracked pavement. Ugh, depressing. But I digress.

The location used for Margaret's magnificent mansion however, has not gone downhill. 
Maggie's limousine pulling through the stately gates
The same entrance today
The beautiful Greystone Mansion is located in Beverly Hills (of course), and the grounds are open to the public free of charge (the inside can also be rented out, for a fee). Lots more info and pictures on their website. This place is definitely on my list of sights to see!

The sisters have a not so friendly chat over tea and we learn the cause of their estrangement (man stealing Maggie), and whilst being driven home by the chauffeur, Edith learns quite a bit more about her dear sister. 

Edie returns to her bar which she says is on "Figueroa and Temple", so of course I Googled immediately to see if they really filmed there and if was actually a bar. To my surprise, they had and there is (or was)! 

When I first searched the location I saw this, what timing! 

I was able to move around a bit and get a clear shot of the place, it appears it's now the out of business, Vertigos Bar & Grill.
Along Figueroa, then..
and now…

In the film, the driver pulls up along the side of the building, and lets Edie out there, she then enters through the side door. Another little then and now (I  Google Maps, can you tell? ;)

Anyway, after a few more visits tensions mount between the two…

….and you can probably guess what happens next!

However our story does not end there! But this plot summary must, or else I will be giving away all the goods 

According to TCM's little pre movie blurb, Bette Davis was never particularly happy with the film in general, feeling everyone did the best they could with what they had to work with. I, on the other hand, thought it was just fantastic - suspenseful and dramatic yet pretty believable. You end up feeling for both sisters by the end. Definitely kept my interest, if you have a chance to see this great movie please do!

Till next time darlings!

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