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Watching old thrillers back from the days when it wasn't really being a popular and established genre yet is always interesting. It's interesting to see how certain genre elements slowly got developed and improved upon throughout the years and genre clichés weren't considered to be clichés yet. It certainly also makes this movie more original to watch than just an average, modern, genre attempt.

And this movie does indeed handle all of its genre ingredients extremely well. There is suspense, there is mystery and there are also plenty of surprises and twists to enjoy in its story. I did like the twist at the end as well, though I can certainly imaging as well how certain people will say it's too much and a bit too far fetched. But that's classic film-making for you. Everything back then still was slightly more exaggerated and also even somewhat over-the-top perhaps.

That particularly goes for this movie, that got done more in an '40's type of style, with its acting, visual style and storytelling. I however really liked that approach for this movie, since the story is about two sisters who formerly had a flourishing Hollywood career, in the early days of cinema. It was kind of need for this movie to have a more old fashioned style and atmosphere to it and if you would had told me this movie got made in 1942, instead of 1962, I would had probably believed you.

The relationship between the two sisters is what makes this movie. They despise each other, yet they are also dependent of each other, for various reasons and are therefore also forced to live together. Jealousy is a big theme in this movie as well as aging and what could happen to a person when he or she suddenly disappears out of the spotlight, after having lived actively under it for so many years. It's therefore also nice that the two main characters are being played by and Joan Crawford, who 20 years prior to this movie were at their peak and extremely popular and well known actors, pretty much like the two main characters in this movie were as well.

You could say this is a movie about the crumbling of an human being, in which one of the characters is slowly descending into madness and gets in deeper and deeper trouble because of it. It's also what makes the character and the overall movie unpredictable and gives it a true sense of tension, pretty much throughout the entire film.

The 'evil' sister gets played by Bette Davis, who is being more like the evil stepmother from Cinderella. She is a true villain in her actions and behavior but what makes its scary is that she at all times still remains a human being. There is nothing unrealistic about it so to speak, which makes her performance all the more powerful and hard to forget.

A great suspenseful movie, with a great straightforward story and character dynamics in it!

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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