[Note: The following review is of a non-Peary title; click here to read more.]
“Your sister’s a very dangerous woman, Katie! She could worm the secrets right out of a sphinx.”
An aspiring artist named Kate (Bette Davis) falls in love with a lighthouse engineer (Glenn Ford), and is devastated when her identical twin sister Patricia (also Bette Davis) seduces him away from her. When Patricia dies in a boating accident, Kate decides to impersonate her, hoping to win back Ford’s love.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bette Davis Films
- Glenn Ford Films
- Mistaken Identities
While Peary lists no less than 28 Bette Davis films in his GFTFF, he nonetheless leaves out several notable titles — including this cult favorite, the first of two films in which Davis was given an opportunity to play identical twins with opposing personalities (the other was Dead Ringer, made in 1964). Naturally, Davis runs away with the material here, effectively convincing viewers that humble Kate and boldly assertive Patricia are radically different women despite possessing similar hairstyles and overall appearances (Davis’s choice). The storyline is melodramatic in the extreme — when is a tale about identical twins not melodramatic in some way? — but remains absorbing from start to finish, thanks not only to Davis’s standout portrayals, but to fine use of rocky outdoor locales (with California’s shoreline standing in for Cape Cod), remarkable Oscar-nominated special effects, and a solid leading-man performance by Ford. This one is an enjoyable treat.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Bette Davis as Kate/Patricia
- Glenn Ford as Bill
- Effective use of outdoor locales
- Fine split-screen special effects
Yes, for Davis’s tour-de-force dual performances.
- Noteworthy Performance(s)