Sisters (1973)



There are three good reasons to check out Brian De Palma’s 1973 thriller, Sisters.  You are rewarded with 1) the fun of spotting allusions to Alfred Hitchcock movies;  2) a killer performance by Margot Kidder; and  3) one knock-your-socks-off murder – you can pretty much see it coming, but when it does, it punches you in the gut, anyway.

Kidder is all fluttery innocence as Danielle, a French-Canadian model/actress who recently, uh, parted ways with her twin sister, Dominique.  Or so it seems.  When Danielle’s apparently jealous ex-husband intrudes on her date with a handsome black acquaintance, things turn nasty.  A nosy neighbor (Jennifer Salt) sees a murder through Danielle’s apartment window.  Or does she?

De Palma has great fun weaving elements of Psycho, Rear Window, and even North by Northwest into the murder and subsequent investigation.  The first thing you notice when the credits begin for Sisters is the dramatic musical score by legendary Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann.  Nobody did “disturbing music” better than Herrmann (he came up with the shrieking strings in Psycho), and his contribution to the mayhem in Sisters is a reminder of his value to Hitchcock.

Sisters’s low budget does come with a few drawbacks.  Some of the acting is less than stellar, some of the dialogue is less than sharp, and the final 15 minutes of the film, although visually engrossing, is narratively weak.  De Palma’s 38-year-old script also includes some rather dubious psychology regarding the nature of Siamese twins.  But, hey – get ready to be punched in the gut.          Grade:  B




Director:  Brian De Palma  Cast:  Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, Charles Durning, William Finley, Lisle Wilson, Barnard Hughes, Mary Davenport, Dolph Sweet, Olympia Dukakis  Release:  1973


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  1. Sparky June 28, 2011 7:29 pm  Reply

    It was interesting to see Margot Kidder in her pre-Superman days. I recently just watched Black Christmas where she played a drunk sorority girl. Nice review, Grouchy.

    • grouchyeditor June 28, 2011 9:43 pm  Reply

      Black Christmas — probably my favorite horror movie and yes, Kidder was a “scream queen” before scream queens were cool. Thanks, Sparky.

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