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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 (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1559408871
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,628 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

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

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 M. Kieswetter on Feb. 7 2005
Format: DVD
The two most esteemed works by Cronenberg are Videodrome (1983) and Dead Ringers (1988). Third is usually Naked Lunch (1991). All three are available on Criterion, though Dead Ringers has been out of print for a long time. But no worries. This release has all the goods from the Criterion version, and at a more reasonable price.
Cronenberg maintained his artistic integrity with this film (and has since). While most directors would water themselves down after a blockbuster (1986's The Fly), Cronenberg moved onto a movie about twin gynaecologists (which is pretty risky in itself) and their descent into insanity. It is the beginning of the more internalised works by Cronenberg, though there are still some horror elements (the Giger-esque instruments for operating on mutant women and the dream sequence).
If you enjoy Dead Ringers, be sure to check out Videodrome and his 2002 film Spider, and if you make it that far, move onto Naked Lunch and Crash.
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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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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!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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