Thursday, 30 December 2010

"That's no good - ladies bruise too easy."

Basing on Vladimir Pozner’s (please, do not mix up with equally named Russian spy!) story, which was released in September and October 1945 in “Good HousekeepingNunnally Johnson wrote and produced a film under the same title, which became a box-office hit in 1946 and was directed by Robert Siodmak: THE DARK MIRROR.

In a nutshell:

Dr. Perada was murdered. Several witnesses saw Terry Collins (Olivia de Havilland) at that certain time near the crime scene. An easy case for Lieutenant Stevenson (Thomas Mitchell). But Terry has an alibi – and a sister: Ruth (Olivia de Havilland), a twin sister. Both occasionally switch roles. So, which one is the murderess? Maybe psychiatrist Scott Elliott (Lew Ayres) can be a help. The trouble with him: he’s going to fall for one of the sisters.


  • Lew Ayres stared as DR. KILDARE in 9 films of the film series of the same name. He became famous as an actor when he played the lead in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930). He was married to Ginger Rogers from 1934 to 1940.

  • The story received a nomination for an Acadamy award.

  • For radio-afficionados: there are some radio productions - with Olivia de Havilland (1950) and with Lew Ayres (1948) and one with both of them in THE HEDDA HOPPER SHOW - THIS IS HOLLYWOOD (1947)...

  • In 1984 there was made a remake for television starring Jane Seymour as the twin sisters.

  • Olivia de Havilland stated years later that the part of the mean twin sister still haunted her.

  • Though in credits only mentioned as technical adviser Eugen Schüfftan – who was a legendary cameraman and special effects specialist - did a great job and mixed several trick shots and added back projection so that Olivia de Havilland often acts in front of a screen on which runs a shot of herself as "her" twin sister.

A nodding acquaintance:

  • You may remember Richard Long (here: Rusty, the bellboy) from Orson Welles’ THE STRANGER (1946).

  • Thomas Mitchell might be best-known as uncle Billy in Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) or Gerald O'Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939). I like him very much as Diz Moore in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939).

Celebrate the celluloid

Nibble some lemon drops! :”)


The soundtrack was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, who also wrote "Do not forsake me, oh my darlin" for HIGH NOON (1952) – I bet you know that one!

See the beauty in it

The costumes were designed by Irene Sharaff – and some of them are really marvelous. There is a pair of blouses with ruching which is not quite my style – but Olivia de Havillands wardrobe in this film is heaven for any forties fashion addict.

Quotes Corner

“He’s a very smart guy for a college man.”

This film is awesome because of its technique. You seldom can spot errors. Olivia de Havilland is doing a fabulous job – well, she is always, isn’t she? - Of course the good sister is the one, who is more the type of a modest housewife and the bad one is the self-confident sister. No wonder: The war was over and women should leave the factories and go back to home. (Bye bye to Rosie the Riveter!) I have nothing against women staying at home and caring for husband and kids - but I think everyone/everywoman should be able to decide for herself and not feel guilty because they do not want to marry and/or raise children. -

So I recommend this film to every fan of Olivia de Havilland and everyone who is interested in trick technique and ask every viewer to take the characterization of the “better” sister not as the proof of “good” woman. There's a wide range of awesome women out there.. ;”)

“I never listened to such utterly nonsense in all my live.”

The End? Wait and watch!

Yours (well and) truly,

Frl. Irene Palfy


  1. Hi! I'm passing on the Stylish Blogger Award to you. If you don't do awards, that's ok. I just wanted you to know I enjoy your blog. If you do, you can visit me at Tribute Books Mama to find out what to do for the award.

    Happy New Year!
    Mary Ann

  2. Hi Frl. Irene,
    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and the wonderful New Year wishes. Im fascinated with the old Hollywood too. There are tons of Hollywood Golden Age movie star glamour photos on my blog if you look farther back in the posts. I hope you have a very Happy New Year too!

  3. Wow! I just walked back in time. Before my time, actually. Love this blog! I'm stopping by by way of Tribute Books Mama. She kindly gave me the Stylish Blog award so I'm visiting the other blogs she choose. The more I visit, the more I wonder how she picked me! I have a review giveaway blog and have only had the opportunity to review one book. Anyway, the clock is ticking towards the New Year. I have a pet theme going on in January (hopefully lots of pet type product reviews) So stop by if you tale a liking to.
    Laurie from Grandma Sez So

  4. Thank you *so* much for visiting my blog because it allowed me to find yours! Fabulous! I am settling in to catch up on some posts, what a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.

    I'm so glad you shared this review; as a *huge* Jane Seymour fan, I saw the 1980's remake but never the original. Guess what's going on my Netflix queue right now?

  5. Thank you very much, Mary Ann!

    Thank you, Bonnie! Yes, I saw that.. ;")

    And also: Thank you, Laurie Harrison!

    Rapunzel: I LOVE your blog and it's so nice that you visited me and left comments! Have fun while you're watching this film - and all the other time, too! ;")


I really appreciate your comments - I'll read them all and if I can think of an answer I'll post it. :")