The year 1946 saw two movies where the leading actress played a dual role: twins with herself. The most famous "twin" movie where only one actress plays the parts is The Parent Trap starring Haley Mills. Twins have always been fascinating studies. How are they different? How are they the same? More importantly, what happens when one of the twins is evil...
The first "evil twin" film I saw as A Stolen Life. It has a great supporting cast: Glenn Ford as the love interest, Charles Ruggles as the concerned Uncle, Walter Brennan as the lighthouse keeper, and Dane Clark as the cynical artist. The story takes place in New England, where old town charm and crashing waves heighten the battle of good vs. evil.
Davis plays Kate and Pat Bosworth. Kate is a painter, visiting her uncle in Cape Cod. She meets the handsome Bill Emerson (Glenn Ford) when she misses the boat back to the mainland (after touring a lighthouse where Bill just happens to be living at the moment) and he has to give her a ride in his boat. Kate, who wants to do a portrait of Bill's uncle who the lighthouse keeper, goes back the next day in her sailboat. The two begin to fall in love; Kate faster than Bill. But there is something Bill doesn't know: Kate has a twin sister.
After that incident, Bill double-checks every time he goes to pick up Kate. Pat however, being more aggressive and taking advantage of her "extra something" (not to mention that she's also a b*tch) slowly begins to lure Bill away. Kate of course stands by and watches her twin steal the man she loves from her. Bill, being a patsy, ends up falling for Pat instead of Kate, whom he really loves. Pat is of course "so sorry" that Bill chose her. She "knows" how it must have hurt Kate to be passed over like that.
Pat goes so far as to marry Bill. Of course their marriage is a failure from the start as Pat's true side comes out. Bill realizes his mistake too late. To escape his loveless marriage, he takes a job in Chile.
Bill is summoned back from Chile. Kate awakes and discovers that everyone thinks she is Pat, because she is wearing Pat's wedding ring (which came off Pat's finger as Kate tried to save her). Everyone tells her how sorry they are that Kate drowned and how much they loved her. Instead of telling them who she is, Kate decides to assume Pat's identity. Now she is "married" to Bill! However, when Bill comes to take her home she learns that Bill and Pat were in the midst of getting a divorce, due to Pat's infidelity. This makes things awkward as she now has to break up with Pat's lover. Also, the dog doesn't know her, causing complications. She finds it very heard to pretend to be someone that everyone dislikes (which is putting it mildly). Kate's uncle figures out who she is but promises, ate her request and against his better judgment, to keep her secret.
How does the film end? Does Kate tell Bill who she really is? Or does Bill discover it for himself? Do they live happily ever after?
Unfortunately it's not showing on TCM anytime soon, but you can watch the trailer here. Or you can listen to the Lux Radio Theater broadcast.
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This was given to the theatre's showing A Stolen Life to tell them how to get people to see the film. Love the "Follow-Up Stunt"
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Twins! One who loves, and one who loves to kill!
She plays twins Terry and Ruth Collins. One of them murdered someone. Both have perfect alibis. One is psycho. The other is slowly being made psycho. There are several scenes involving psychology, as the film was made in a time where psychoanalysis was a new field. There are several scenes involving the Rorschach ink blot test and it is even used in the opening credits. The twins are told this is for a twin personality study, but really they are trying to determine which one is the killer.
Meanwhile, the evil twin (Terry) is driving the good twin (Ruth) out of her mind slowly. She plays music on a record during the night and pretends not to hear it or remind her of things that one of them said that she doesn't remember. This causes the Ruth to start to lose her grip and wonder if she maybe didn't commit the murder after all. She also begins to rely on sleeping pills to get a good night's rest, taking more than she needs at her sister's suggestion.
Ayres plays Dr. Scott Elliot. While conducting the tests on the twins, he falls in love with Ruth. After he has completed the tests, he knows which one is the killer and sets a trap. He invites Terry up to his apartment to tell her something "important" (the identity of the killer).
The girls wear distinctive personalized jewelry so you can tell them apart.
If ever I was to turn evil, I would definitely try and make the other person feel like they were going crazy. As long as you're good liar (and the other person is sweet and trusting) it would work.
You can watch the full movie here on YouTube.
de Havilland and Ayres with the director, George Cukor
Not even nature can duplicate character, not even in twins.
~ Dr. Scott Elliot, The Dark Mirror
Be sure to look for my post on The Whole Town's Talking (1935) on Sunday, where Edward G. Robinson plays the dual role of a meek office worker and a ruthless gangster (his specialty)! Also check out what's new to the blog, my post on look-alike celebrities (it's been all about twins here lately), and my 50th Anniversary Sound of Music posts!
This post is part of the Great Villain Blogathon hosted by Speakeasy, Shadows & Satin, and Silver Screenings. Make sure and check out all five days of great entries!
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