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A STOLEN LIFE (director: Curtis Bernhardt; screenwriters: Catherine Turney/Margaret Buell Wilder/based on the novel by Karel J. Benes; cinematographers: Sol Polito/ Ernest Haller; editor: Rudi Fehr; music: Max Steiner; cast: Bette Davis (Kate Bosworth), Glenn Ford (Bill Emerson), Charles Ruggles (Freddie Lindley), Bruce Bennett (Jack Talbot), Walter Brennan (Eben Folgor), Dane Clark (Karnock), Peggy Knudsen (Deidre), Esther Dale (Mrs. Johnson), Joan Winfield (Lucy, Clara Blandick (Martha); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bette Davis; Warner Brothers; 1946)
This unbelievable but enjoyable drama with a New England setting, is Bette Davis’s first and last film as a producer.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This unbelievable but enjoyable drama with a New England setting, is Bette Davis’s first and last film as a producer. It’s a remake of a 1938 British film that starred Elisabeth Bergner. Ms. Davis plays the double role of identical twins, in a split-screen performance of the good sister Kate and the bad sister Pat. She was to repeat that type of twin portrayal performance in the 1964 Paul Henreid’s film Dead Ringer. The German-born Hollywood director Curtis Bernhardt(“Possessed”/”Sirocco”/”The Blue Veil”) encourages Ms. Davis to give an over-the-top show-off performance, as one of the sisters who steals the identity of the other. My favorite line in the film has someone say: “Your sister’s a very dangerous woman, Katie! She could worm the secrets right out of a sphinx.”

It’s based on the novel by Karel J. Benes, and is written by Catherine Turney and Margaret Buell Wilder.

Aspiring repressed painter Kate Bosworth (Bette Davis) falls in love with the hunky Massachusetts island lighthouse engineer, Bill Emerson (Glenn Ford), stationed in nearby Dragon Head, whom she meets while visiting her cousin Freddie (Charles Ruggles). Bill mentions that he has a new job in Boston waiting for him, but promises to return to the area. Kate’s more aggressive sister Pat is also an island visitor. When Bill meets her on the dock, he mistakes her for Kate. Pat goes along with this and pretends to be Kate Later Bill realizes his mistake when Kate appears.

On the train to Boston, Pat tags along with Bill and puts her hooks in him. When Bill returns to the island, he has fallen for Pat and they marry. After a while Bill is about to take a new job in Chile to escape his bad marriage. Kate can’t get her mind off Bill, as she realizes that she loves him. When the twins go sailing, their boat crashes in a reef and Pat drowns. Kate steals Pat’s wedding ring and pretends to be her. Kate pleads with hubby to give their marriage another chance, and he asks her to give up her lover Jack Talbot (Bruce Bennett). Things get resolved when the intuitive Bill realizes that Kate is Pat and that they were meant to be together, and this time he marries the right twin.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”