Sisters (1972) from Johnny Web

Criterion has added this film to their collection, presumably based upon the fact that it was the movie that first created Brian De Palma's reputation.

As you might expect if you know De Palma's work, it's a Hitchcockesque crime and punishment film with some unexpected twists.

Margot Kidder is a model who invites a man over to her apartment. Before they get there, they are interrupted by Margot's ex-husband, who refuses to let her go. Yadda, yadda, yadda, they get rid of the ex, they make love, they wake up the next morning and are interrupted by the woman's separated Siamese twin sister, who eventually kills the lover.

It just so happens that a reporter who lives in the neighboring apartment saw the murder. She calls the police. By the time the police respond, the ex-husband has returned and cleaned up the crime scene, hiding the body in a foldaway couch. Finding no evidence of a crime, the police pooh-pooh the entire incident, so the reporter hires a private detective. The detective follows the couch, the reporter follows the woman and the ex-husband, and you can guess the rest.

The odd thing about this movie is that it continues for about 40 minutes after all the initial plot points have been resolved. 40 minutes of anti-climax.

I'm now going to spoil it for you, but not really, because it doesn't take Dr Hawking to solve the mystery, and you'll have it figured out about 30 minutes before they tell you . As you movie fans know, there are only two possible solutions when a movie involves separated twins.

  • Possibility One: They are separated and one died. We think the good one survived the operation, but in fact it was the evil one. (Insert chilling music here).
  • Possibility Two: Even though we think they are both alive, there is no evil twin. Either there never was an evil twin at all, or else the evil twin died and the good one has assumed both personalities.

It was number two. Yes, you're right. This violates one of the most fundamental unities. It's exactly the same gimmick as multiple personality disorder. But they reveal this about halfway through the movie. So what is the point of continuing? Well, the movie did continue, but with some different suspense points, and frankly I'm not too sure what was going on, because the ex-husband turned out to be the surgeon who separated them, and he captured the reporter and drugged her.

We then see the next twenty minutes or so through the drug-induced hallucinations of the reporter, and they use the usual fish-eye lenses and extreme close-ups and the old cliche where the drugged patient sees herself in all the external scenes she watches. I may have fallen asleep there for a while. I hope I didn't miss any nudity.

I did think the very last scene was quite creative and witty, and I won't spoil that one for you. Let's just say they seem to abandon the sub-plot with the private detective and the couch, and then bring it back after we have completely forgotten it.

Margot Kidder was briefly topless, and in a see-through negligee. She managed to show her breasts and speak in a French accent at the same time.

IMDB summary: 6.8 out of 10.

External review:. As you have seen, I was not impressed. However, James Kendrick gave the movie four stars, and wrote a detailed and finely crafted summary/review. This links to his review, which is excellent, although I don't agree with it..

DVD info from Amazon. It is a pretty good DVD, although for some reason it is not in stereo. It is a monaural track. The transfer is satisfactory, it is widescreen (1.85). There is an essay by DePalma, a (print) interview with DePalma, the actual Life magazine article that inspired the story, and hundreds of production stills.

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