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Dead Ringers (The Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Barbara Gordon, Shirley Douglas
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Writers: David Cronenberg, Bari Wood, Jack Geasland, Norman Snider
  • Producers: David Cronenberg, Carol Baum, James G. Robinson
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: March 23 2001
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1559408871
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,622 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

In Dead Ringers, David Cronenberg tells the chilling story of identical twin gynecologists-suave Elliot and sensitive Beverly, bipolar sides of one personality-who share the same practice, the same apartment, the same women. When a new patient, glamorous actress Claire Niveau, challenges their eerie bond, they descend into a whirlpool of sexual confusion, drugs, and madness. Jeremy Irons' tour-de-force performance-as both twins-raises disturbing questions about the nature of personal identity.

Amazon.ca

Like many other films by Canadian director David Cronenberg (especially Crash), Dead Ringers presents the cinematic and psychological equivalent of an automobile accident--you dare not look, but you can't turn away. The film marked a directorial breakthrough for Cronenberg, who was able to continue some of the themes explored in his earlier horror films while graduating to a higher, more critically "respectable" level of artistic sophistication. The film is loosely based, amazingly enough, on a true story about twin gynecologists who routinely traded each others' identities, lives and even lovers. Utilizing innovative split-screen technology (years before computer manipulation made such trickery much easier), the film stars Jeremy Irons in flawless dual roles as the identical brothers Beverly and Elliot Mantle. Their ability to instantly switch identities leads them to a shared relationship with a well-known actress (Genevieve Bujold) and, ultimately, a physical and psychological tailspin that sends them both to the brink of madness and death. The scenario suggests that both men are halves of a whole, and that one cannot exist without the other. But when Beverly pursues a kinky, drug-addicted affair with the actress, his more self-controlled brother is helpless to prevent their mutual decline. In this way Dead Ringers becomes a fascinating and stylistically clinical study of duality, and Cronenberg doesn't shy away from the dark and unpleasant aspects of the story. (One look at the movie's display of bizarre gynecological instruments and you'll know why women find this film particularly--and unforgettably--disturbing.) The Criterion Collection DVD includes illuminating commentary by Cronenberg, Irons, production designer Carol Spier, and others; extensive production information; interviews with the principal cast; and a detailed examination of the film's groundbreaking use of invisible special effects. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R Jess on March 31 2004
Format: VHS Tape
'Dead Ringers' may indeed be David Cronenberg's best film. Jeremy Irons performance is truly extraordinary. As for not being able to tell the difference between the two brothers, I could sense immediately which brother was which by simple body language and how each brother carried himself. Which is a testiment to the subtlties of Iron's acting, that he could make you believe he was two different people at the same time on screen. This belief was also helped by the amazing motion control camera sequences which allowed Irons to "act with himself" in the same frame. The clean perpendicular lines of the twins' appartment was especially chosen to make it easier to cut the film together.
Viewers should be warned beforehand that 'Dead Ringers' is not a horror movie, it's more of a psychological character study. The twin brothers have an unusual gendered relationship. Elliot as the suave unfeeling male who's "no good with the serious ones" and Beverly, with the girl's name, as the the sensitive, caring female. Soon they come to realize that they are one physical entity, forever separated as two physical beings.
In talking about the film Cronenberg has said that men have proven to be much more squeamish about this film than women as lying on the gynecological chair is an experience that many women have gone through. Yet many men have no idea what it's like. Cronenberg was fascinated by these doctors who knew more abaout their patients than their husbands did.
The only drawback about this whole project is that the marvellous soundtrack is not available anywhere!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20 2005
Format: DVD
As of this writing, there's no artwork posted here, but if you get this DVD, at the top of the front cover, there's a black banner with white text that says "15th ANNIVERSARY EDITION FEATURING SUPPLEMENTS ORIGINALLY PRODUCED BY THE CRITERION COLLECTION." The transfer seems to be the same: non-anamorphic, 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The extras are spectacular, especially the commentary with Jeremy Irons and David Croenberg.
Another DVD released in Europe also licensed the same extras, but it's missing an essay and uses a different transfer with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. THIS DVD, which seems to be only available in Canada, uses the director's PREFERRED aspect ratio of 1.66:1, and is complete, almost an exact duplicate of the original Criterion Collection DVD in terms of content.
This is a bit more expensive than other DVD's, but a bit cheaper than the original Criterion Collection DVD, which is out-of-print and fetches 40+ U.S. dollars on ebay. Definitely worth buying if you love this picture, which is Croenberg's best work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R Jess on April 6 2004
Format: VHS Tape
'Dead Ringers' may indeed be David Cronenberg's best film. Jeremy Irons performance is truly extraordinary. Far from not being able to tell the difference between the two brothers, I could sense immediatedly which brother was which by simple body language and how each brother carried himself. Which is a testament to the subtlties of Irons' acting, that he could make you believe he was two different people at the same time on screen. This belief was largely created however by the amazing motion-control camera sequences which allowed Irons to "act with himself" in the same frame. The clean perpendicular lines of the twins' appartment was especially chosen to make it easier to cut the film together.
Viewers should be warned beforehand that 'Dead Ringers' is not a horror movie, it's more of a psychological character study. The twin brothers have a pseudo-homosexual relationship. Elliot as the suave, unfeeling male who's "no good with the serious ones" and Beverly (with the girl's name) as the sensitive, caring female. By the end of the film they recognize that they are one entity, forever seperated as two physical beings.
In talking about the film, Cronenberg has said that men have been much more squeamish over this film than women, as lying on the gynocological chair is an experience that many women have gone through, yet many men have no idea what it's like. Cronenberg was fascinated by these male doctors who knew more about their patients most private parts than their husbands did.
The only drawback abou this whole project is that the marvellous soundtrack is not available anywhere!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ted on March 25 2004
Format: DVD
This review id for the Criterion Collection edition of the film.
This film based on the book "Twins" by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, which is based loosely on a true story.
The plot is simple 2 identical twin brothers who are gynocologists and share the same office, home, and patients.
They have a new patient with a very unusual gynocological anomaly. They fall in love with her and later begin to develop a major problem.
What is most impressive is the fact that Jeremy Irons played both brothers. The scenes where they are together was filmed with breathtaking split screen imagery and motion control cameras. The action is completly seamless very impressive for its time. The criterion DVD has special "making of" clips and show how difficult it was to film this action. While not mentioned in the features, I would assume that the continuity supervisor probably had a very important role on the set.
The film also stars French-Canadian actress Geneviève Bujold who was originally slated to play Captain Janeway on Star Trek Voyager, but left after a day and a half of filming.
The DVD has additional special features with excellent audio commentary by selected cast and crew.
While some scenes in this film may be disturbing to some viewers, the "twinning" special effects are not to be missed!
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