The Dark Mirror (film)

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This article is about the 1946 movie. For 2007 horror movie, see Dark Mirror (film).
The Dark Mirror
The dark mirror vhs cover.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Siodmak
Produced by Nunnally Johnson
Screenplay by Nunnally Johnson
Story by Vladimir Pozner
Starring Olivia de Havilland
Lew Ayres
Thomas Mitchell
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Cinematography Milton R. Krasner
Edited by Ernest J. Nims
International Pictures
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release dates
  • October 18, 1946 (1946-10-18) (United States)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2,750,000 (US rentals)[1]

The Dark Mirror is a 1946 American psychological thriller film directed by Robert Siodmak, starring Olivia de Havilland as twins and Lew Ayres as their psychiatrist. The film marks Ayres' return to motion pictures following his conscientious objection to service in World War II. De Havilland had begun to experiment with method acting at the time and insisted that everyone in the cast meet with a psychiatrist. The film anticipates producer/screenwriter Nunnally Johnson's psycho-docu-drama The Three Faces of Eve (1957). Vladimir Pozner's original story on which the film is based was nominated for an Academy Award.[2]


This psychological thriller tells the story of a pair of identical twins, one loving and nice and the other severely disturbed. A doctor is killed and witnesses identify one of the twins as the person seen having a quarrel with the victim shortly before his death. A detective investigating the case cannot determine which twin did the killing since each can provide an alibi for the other. The police ask for assistance from a doctor who studies twins to help crack the case.



Critical response[edit]

When first released the staff at Variety magazine gave the film a mixed review, writing, "The Dark Mirror runs the full gamut of themes currently in vogue at the box office - from psychiatry to romance back again to the double identity gimmick and murder mystery. But, despite the individually potent ingredients, somehow the composite doesn't quite come off...Lew Ayres is cast in his familiar role as a medico - a specialist on identical twins. Slightly older looking and sporting a mustache, Ayres still retains much of his appealing boyish sincerity. But in the romantic clinches, Ayres is stiff and slightly embarrassed looking. Copping thespic honors, despite a relatively light part, Thomas Mitchell plays the baffled dick with a wry wit and assured bearing that carries belief."[3]

Bosley Crowther, film critic for The New York Times, also was critical, writing, "The Dark Mirror, like so many of its ilk, suffers from its author's lack of ingenuity to resolve his puzzle in a satisfying manner. As in his earlier and superior mystery, The Woman in the Window, Mr. Johnson solves the problem with a bit of trickery which is no credit to his craftsmanship. Still, one must hand it to Mr. Johnson for keeping his audience guessing, if not always entertained."[4]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the film and wrote, "Siodmak deserves high praise for keeping the melodrama agreeable and intelligent when dealing with both the doppelgänger effect and the sibling rivalry; he does it better than the way most films have covered those subjects, showing that identical twins might look the same but have different psychological attitudes."[5]


Dark Mirror was remade as a TV film in 1984, with Jane Seymour as the twins and Vincent Gardenia as the cop.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "60 Top Grossers of 1946", Variety 8 January 1947 p8
  2. ^ The Dark Mirror at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Variety. Film review, October 1, 1946. Last accessed: February 14, 2010.
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, October 19, 1946. February 14, 2010.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, November 1, 2004. Last accessed: February 14, 2010.

External links[edit]