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Sisters (Criterion Collection) (1973)

Cast: Margot Kidder, Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, more...
Director: Brian De Palma, Brian De Palma
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Horror, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 92 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Recently Rented By Misshaped

A reporter gets more than she bargained for when she tries to prove that a murder has occurred in Brian De Palma's disturbing thriller. Danielle (Margot Kidder) meets Phillip (Lisle Wilson) on a "Peeping Tom"-themed game show and, dodging her ex-husband Emil (William Finley), takes him back to her apartment. But Danielle has a separated Siamese twin sister, Dominique, who is not pleased about the overnight guest. Journalist neighbor Grace (Jennifer Salt) sees Phillip slaughtered by one of them through her window; the body vanishes before she can convince a skeptical detective (Dolph Sweet) to take a look. Determined to prove that she's right (and get a career-advancing story), Grace investigates, assisted by a private eye (Charles Durning), and becomes more involved in the relationships among Danielle, Dominique, and Emil than she ever expected. ~ Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Director Brian De Palma's 1973 Village Voice essay "Murder by Moog: Scoring the Chill," on working with composer Bernard Herrmann
  • A 1973 print interview with De Palma on the making of Sisters
  • "Rare Study of Siamese Twins in Soviet," the 1966 Life magazine article that inspired De Palma
  • Excerpts from the original press book, including ads and exploitation
  • Production, publicity and behind-the scenes stills

GreenCine Member Reviews

Balls to the wall horror-thriller by Brian DePalma by Lastcrackerjack April 3, 2006 - 8:08 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
A man (Lisle Wilson) showcased on a hidden camera show called "Peeping Toms" goes on a date with the French Canadian model (Margot Kidder) who made him her unwitting "victim" on TV. At dinner, theyre hassled by her creepy ex-husband (Bill Finley), who shares an unsettling likeness with John Waters. Wilson takes her home.

In the morning, he learns that Kidder apparently has a twin sister who isn't right in the head. Her nosy neighbor, a bleeding heart journalist played by Jennifer Salt, witnesses a murder in the apartment while staring out her window. By the time the cops arrive, Kidder and Finley have cleaned up and loaded the body into a sleeper sofa. Undeterred, Salt investigates with the help of a private detective played by the great Charles Durning.

Directed by Brian DePalma from a script co-written with Louisa Rose, this was the first "Brian DePalma film" DePalma made following the better part of a decade honing his skills on quirky, unseen comedies with titles like "Hi, Mom!" or "Get To Know Your Rabbit".

"Sisters" is a balls to the wall horror-thriller, an unapologetic tribute to Alfred Hitchcock - namely "Psycho" and "Rear Window" - which DePalma grafted onto a Life Magazine story he'd come across on conjoined female twins in Russia who had completely polar personalities.

The debate on whether this and subsequent thrillers from the director of "Scarface" and "The Untouchables" are homage, or pale imitation of Hitchcock totally misses the point. DePalma's visual audacity and inventiveness when utilizing a so-so cast, tight schedule and little money, should be considered an accomplishment, if not a classic. No filmmaker in a hurry to squeeze off an imitation could come up with some of the creative sequences here.

The opening shot is a trick. We segueway from Wilson peeping at Kidder to a TV studio audience peeping at Wilson peeping at Kidder. And of course, we're "peeping" at all of them.

There's a nine minute split-screen sequence in which Kidder and Finley race to dispose of evidence in one frame, while Salt can arrive with the cops in the opposing frame.

The climax finds Salt the guest of Finley's sanitarium. Under heavy sedation, she is thrown into a surreal dream and forced to experience the plight of the twins from a first-person point of view. The movie goes off the rails for a bit here, but you have to give DePalma props. He was out to make something much more than a buck with a standard slasher flick.

The film's final shot - in which Durning watches the abandoned sofa with a pair of binoculars, waiting to see if anyone retrieves it - is eerie and brings us full circle to what DePalma is saying with this film: be careful when playing peeping tom.

The tense and memorable musical score was written by Bernard Hermann, Hitchcocks longtime composer.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.60)
147 Votes
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Reviewed on Show Me Your Titles film podcast
visit Show Me Your Titles to hear what Erin and Cathy thought of these films.
Siamese twins, we love you!
Even when separated we're still fascinated with you. Not yet out on dvd: Blood Link starring Michael Moriarty

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