HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Chained For Life Twin Dilemma
Year: 1951
Director: Harry L. Fraser
Stars: Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton, Mario Laval, Allen Jenkins, Patricia Wright, Alan Keys, Norvell Mitchell
Genre: Musical, Drama, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: A judge is having trouble deciding on a verdict for the murder case he is presiding over. His problem is this: although it looks like a simple cold-blooded killing, the perpetrator is Vivian Hamilton (Violet Hilton) who happens to be a Siamese twin, joined at the hip to her sister, Dorothy (Daisy Hilton). We are privy to their testimony as they explain how they got into this situation; they were singers performing in vaudeville and a marriage stunt was dreamt up by their manager (Allen Jenkins) to bring publicity to their act. Dorothy's husband-to-be was Andre (Mario Laval), who had a pistol and rifle shooting act, and he saw the marriage as a way of getting to the top of the bill, but things got complicated when Dorothy actually fell in love with him...

Written by Nat Tanchuck, Chained for Life is an odd item of fifties exploitation which starred two real-life conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet, and drew on their experiences with their disability. The murder plot was, you'll be relieved to know, invented by the screenwriter, and the twins had made an appearance on the big screen two decades before, in director Tod Browning's notorious Freaks, another film that they were only cast in because of their distinctive medical condition. Here, as stars of the show, they get to do a little more acting - and singing too, just to include part of their act to pad out the already short running time.

Ah yes, those musical numbers. The sisters get to perform two songs onstage, and their voices are pleasant enough, better than their thespian skills at least, but the other musical interludes are introduced with all the subtlety of a crowbar. We hear an accordion player presenting his extremely fast versions of popular classics, a piano player at a restaurant holds up the action by belting out a ballad, and Andre even phones up Dorothy to serenade her with his guitar down the line. In fact, other vaudeville acts make up quite a portion of the film, with a juggler (quite impressive the way he juggles with a piece of a broken plate) and a trick cyclist (marvel at his tiny bicycle) also appearing.

Then there's the two-timing Andre's pistol routine, where he shoots at small targets, uses a mirror or, erm, plays the organ with bullets. He's not alone in this act, no, he has a glamorous assistant Renée to help, and it's she he is really in love with, not poor old Dorothy. Yet Dot allows herself to believe there's more to the arrangement than publicity, and starts to wish she wasn't attached to Vivian at all. This is where the problems of the real life twins are addressed, with Andre being accused of potential bigamy, and the ladies visiting a doctor to see if they could be separated. Alas, it's not to be, and Vivian puts them both in jeopardy when she pulls the trigger on Andre and the death sentence hangs over their heads.

As a social document, Chained for Life is poor. Dorothy's desire to be free of her sister is illustrated by a ridiculous dream sequence featuring a Daisy double leaving her twin behind to gambol in a garden - closeups are achieved by having Violet hidden by a tree, which nowadays can't help but make you think of the Farrelly brothers' comedy Stuck on You. When the defence informs the judge that the twins can't fairly be put to death or incarcerated, he invites you to take pity on them (saying they're described as "monstrosities"), and you will feel sorry for the Hiltons' real life situation, but mostly the film makes you think, "Why did the sisters have to include details of all the acts in their testimony?" Amateurish and coy for the most part, the movie is also inconclusive: you don't even get a proper ending. And despite supposedly being sympathetic to the twins, this is essentially an old-fashioned freak show. Music by Henry Vars.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 9972 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: