“If I have a date, you have a date too, my dear.”
A conjoined twin (Violet Hilton) shoots her sister’s con-artist husband (Mario Laval), and stands on trial for murder.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Courtroom Drama
- Vaudeville and Burlesque
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “extremely dull” exploitation film starring conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton truly is a “curio” more than anything else. As in the Hilton sisters’ only other movie (Tod Browning’s cult classic, Freaks), “freaks” of nature are cruelly used and jilted by the “normal” folks around them — but in this case, the “freaks” are forced to stand trial in “normal” society rather than banding together to mete out vigilante justice. Despite its dull storyline, however, Chained for Life does include several interesting scenes (as when Violet is “fantasizing she is a normal woman and dancing with [her lover]”), and it presents viewers with some provocative dilemmas: Would you sentence Violet for what she did? And what would happen, logistically speaking, if one of a pair of conjoined twins was sentenced to jail?
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An interesting take on the intense loyalty twins may feel for each other (but done much to much better effect by Olivia De Haviland in The Dark Mirror, 1946)
- Dorothy’s fantasy dream sequence
No. Watch the infinitely superior Freaks (1932) to get a more interesting, albeit shorter, glimpse of the Hilton twins.