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DEAD RINGER

DEAD RINGER ($20) is a wonderfully over-the-top, melodramatic thriller featuring the incomparable Bette Davis in a juicy dual role. In DEAD RINGER, Davis portrays the wealthy Margaret DeLorca and her financially challenged identical twin sister Edith Phillips. After not having seen each other for two decades, the sisters are reunited by the death of Margaretís husband. As it turns out, Margaret stole the only man Edith ever loved and Edith returns the favor by murdering her and assuming the identity of the wealthy Mrs. DeLorca. While Edith is generally up to the challenge of pretending to be her sister, the arrival of Margaretís lover, Tony Collins (Peter Lawford), causes serious complications for our little murderess. The cast of DEAD RINGER also features Karl Malden, Philip Carey, Jean Hagen, George Macready and Estelle Winwood.

Warner Home Video has made DEAD RINGER available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a really nice black and white transfer of this forty-year-old movie. The image almost always looks sharp and well defined. There are some processed shots that appear somewhat soft, but this is certainly not a flaw in an otherwise fine transfer. Black are accurate, whites are crisp and the grayscale produces a good range of variation. The film elements used for the transfer are in very good shape for its age, showing only a smattering of blemishes. A grain structure is present during much of the proceedings, but it is relatively fine and unobtrusive. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

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DEAD RINGER
comes with a solid Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. Most of the background hiss and noise have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the film with a smooth sonic quality. Fidelity is good for a film of this vintage, with Andrť Previnís fun, harpsichord flavored musical score coming across in a pleasant enough manner. Dialogue sounds crisp and is always totally understandable. A French language track has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English, French and Spanish subtitles.

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Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few very cool supplements. First there is an informative and very entertaining audio commentary featuring Davis aficionados- entertainer Charles Busch and author Boze Hadleigh. Double Take: A Conversation With Boze Hadleigh is a twelve-minute program in which the author talks about Davis, the production and the supporting cast of DEAD RINGER. The vintage featurette Behind The Scenes At The Doheny Mansion and a theatrical trailer close out the supplements.

DEAD RINGER is pure cinematic entertainment, thanks to Bette Davis, who makes this melodramatic thriller so much fun to watch. Warnerís DVD looks and sounds really good, plus the disc features some very enjoyable supplements. If you are a movie buff or Davis fan, youíll want to add DEAD RINGER to your film library. Recommended.

 

DEAD RINGER 


Dead Ringer (1964)

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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