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directed by Curtis Bernhardt
USA 19
46

 

Classic film fans rejoice: A Stolen Life stars two Bette Davis in one grand, heart-wrenching melodrama. The iconic actress portrays twin sisters Kate and Pat: the first good and the other, if not exactly evil, a vain vixen who’s landed the husband (Glenn Ford) Kate wanted. One fateful day a storm comes up while the sisters are boating, Pat drowns and Kate grabs her chance to steal her sister’s identity – and husband. Instead of using makeup or hair tricks to differentiate the twins, Davis relies on something much more effective: acting talent. And viewers will note she actually plays three roles: Kate, Pat and Kate pretending to be Pat. It’s a dazzling balancing act – and Davis puts every step exactly right.

****

Bette Davis' first film as producer for Warners, a remake of a 1938 British vehicle for Elisabeth Bergner, also offered her the first chance to play the double role of identical twins she was to repeat in 1964 in Paul Henreid's Dead Ringer. Here her split-screen performance lasts only until good sister Kate falls victim to bad sister Pat's murderous jealousy over Glenn Ford, but Bernhardt encourages her to glorious melodramatic excess as she subsequently plays wolf in sheep's clothing, stealing Kate's identity. The cod psychology of doubling and splitting had by now infiltrated the Hollywood public domain with a vengeance: Bernhardt's next film saw him directing Joan Crawford as a schizophrenic in Possessed.

Excerpt of review from Timeout Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 6th, 1946

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:47:04
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.15 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (2:07)

DVD Release Date: September 28th, 2010
Keep Case

Chapters 11

 

Comments

Perfect little Bette Davis vehicle - the film is all her's (playing two characters) although handsome, youthful, Glenn Ford gets his share of camera appeal. The evil twin is always an intriguing plot point and this puts and unexpected spin on the proceedings. Solid film - beautifully shot as well with great New England ocean scenery.

It's an incredibly impressive single-layered transfer. Wow - another Warner Archive title that its hard to believe looks as good as it does. How did this not make it to a previous, pressed disc, Davis Boxset? The elements are, obviously, in amazing condition. Visually this is spectacular - clean, wonderful contrast and a hint of grain too. Only the dual (two Davis) shots - are slightly less pristine but this was probably the production trick used at the time.

Another great score by Max Steiner sounding quite good through the mono rendered track - consistent and clean - there are no subtitles offered. The only supplement is the film's 2-minute trailer - pictureboxed.

Bette Davis fans should be drooling over this title - another of the actresses highly impressive films in an amazingly clean and detailed transfer. Where have Warner been hiding this? The disc offers a fabulous presentation - it's just a shame that there are no supplements to augment appreciation. The film deserves some discussion.

  - Gary Tooze

 



 

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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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