Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Dark Mirror (1946)

 
Twins! One who loves, and one who loves to kill!

That's one of the taglines used for The Dark Mirror starring Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, and Thomas Mitchell. The film was, to me, reminiscent of Gaslight (1944), where Charles Boyer slowly drives his wife, Ingrid Bergman, to insanity. In this case however, one twin is slowly driving the other twin crazy. I found this film particularly intriguing as one is not used to seeing the sweet Olivia de Havilland acting so evil and ruthless.

The ink blot test plays a big part in the film.

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.

Terry and Ruth wear lots of personalized jewelry to help others tell them apart. The pieces from the film, which were created by Joseff of Hollywood, were auctioned off last year and can be seen in the catalog pages below.




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). He makes Terry believe that he thinks she is Ruth. When Terry comes to his apartment, he confronts her and tells her that he knows she's Terry and that she did it. She still tries to blame it on Ruth. They are interrupted by a call that Ruth has committed suicide. They rush to the apartment and Scott goes into the bedroom to confirm the death. Terry, thinking that Ruth is dead, now pretends that she is Ruth and that she was trying to help cover up Terry's crime. As she talks, she becomes more and more into her lie. Suddenly, the real Ruth's reflection appears in the mirror. Terry throws an object at the mirror and completely breaks down. After she is taken away, Scott explains why the had to pretend she was dead and comforts her.


You can watch the full movie here on YouTube.

This post is for The Third Annual Olivia de Havilland Blogathon hosted by myself and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood. Please check out the other posts and come back next year to celebrate the lovely Olivia!

12 comments:

  1. The Dark Mirror is an excellent choice for your blogathon. I haven't seen this movie since I was a teen. As I recall Olivia was more than up to the challenge of playing two characters in one story and I found it fascinating. I'll certainly check this out in the next few days to see if it touches that memory.

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    1. Thanks! She is fantastic in this role!!

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  2. Oh my goodness, I might have to toss my plans for this week's movie watching out the window and watch this. It sounds amazing!

    And happy birthday to the amazing Olivia de Havilland!

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    1. Watched it tonight, and wow! So good. Olivia was excellent in both roles, of course, and it was neat to see Thomas Mitchell in such a non-bumbling, non-comical, wholly competent role for once! And a super-young Richard Long was a fun bonus too :-) I'm so glad you reviewed this and included the link to YouTube so I could watch it!

      I'm guessing Blogger is still being glitchy and not letting you comment on your own posts? It's been weird for me lately too, in a different way -- it no longer sends notifications of comments to my email. So vexing.

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    2. Yay! Finally was able to sign back in!!

      I’m so glad you watched this and enjoyed it!! And agree about Mitchell and Long!

      Yeah, I don’t get emails anymore either. On the comments I had accidentally hit the sign out button instead of publish and it wouldn’t let me log in again until just now!

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    3. YAY! So glad you were able to get back in :-)

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  3. What a great choice of film! Love your review too

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  4. This movie has been on my list for a while, I really should get around to watching it!

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  5. This looks like such an interesting movie! I am surprised I have never heard of it before. I have always loved crime films, so I have to watch it as soon as possible. I read only half of your review because I was afraid of spoilers.

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    1. There’s a link to watch it on YouTube at the end! Let me know how you like it!

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