The Dark Mirror (1946)
Olivia's Double Trouble
When a man is found stabbed to death in his apartment Lt. Stevenson (Thomas Mitchell - Dark Waters) is tasked with solving the crime and after interviewing a series of witnesses he comes to the conclusion that Terry (Olivia de Havilland), an attractive young woman who works a newspaper stand in a lobby is the chief suspect despite having a very good alibi. But when Stevenson pays Terry a visit at her apartment he discovers that she has an identical twin sister Ruth (Olivia de Havilland) and that complicates matters as it means the witnesses cannot tell which one was the person they saw leaving the scene of the crime. It leads Stevenson to Dr. Scott Elliott (Lew Ayres - Holiday) a psychiatrist who might just be able to use his skills to work out which of the sisters is the murderer.
First things first "The Dark Mirror" is visually stunning with some nice camera work and some nice lighting. But it is the camera trickery to have Olivia de Havilland playing the twins in the same scene which is stunning. You see a scene and you think fine that was done with a split screen but then you look at the angle and you think that it can't be as there is no clear gap between the two characters. And then just when you think you can't be impressed anymore you then have an even more staggering bit of trickery to have the sisters cheek to cheek. As a rule trickery and novelty rarely does it for me when it comes to movies but this really impressed when you consider its age.
What also impressed is Olivia de Havilland who's clever and subtle performance as Terry and Ruth makes "The Dark Mirror" more than a movie with a novelty. There are times when the twins are indistinguishable due to similar mannerisms but then you get their individual traits come out from one being more confident and seductive to the other radiating honesty. But the thing is that whilst Olivia de Havilland is the star of "The Dark Mirror" it is equally the performances of Thomas Mitchell and Lew Ayres that make the movie with enjoyable performances of stock crime movie characters.
The one thing which lets "The Dark Mirror" down is that the story doesn't match up to the cinematography, editing and performances. Don't get me wrong as it is an entertaining story but when it comes to making you feel a sense of need when it comes to solving which sister is the murderer it just doesn't grab you.
What this all boils down to is that "The Dark Mirror" is still an entertaining movie despite being over 60 years old. But it is entertaining because of the smooth camera trickery and the performance of Olivia de Havilland which is fantastic from start to finish.
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