Saturday, December 26, 2015

DEADLY DUO (1962)


The first thing to notice about this film, released in early 1962, is the seemingly stock opening music with prominent xylophone. It may remind you of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. This is the exact music used in parody skits of old movies. The production budget is not terribly embarrassing with enough location shooting and believable interior sets for realism. But it is an old premise of good and evil twins, played by Marcia Henderson. I was a little uncertain who the deadly duo was. One twin is a well behaved widow raising her young son. Not deadly. The blonde, conniving evil twin is married to Robert Lowry, the perennial bad guy who, in this film, looks particularly sleazy in a black blazer, open collar shirt with a white ascot. Drink in hand. Got it. This is the duo.

Good twin’s husband was killed in a racing accident. He was to be the heir to a mega industry’s throne. His mother, Irene Tedrow, is the CEO. She wants good twin’s little boy to be the future heir and feels he should be tailored in the States, by her side, and not in Acapulco. She and her attorney want struggling LA attorney, handsome Craig Hill, to bring him back. Close your eyes and Hill may turn into Bob Cummings. Their voice quality is shared. He is repulsed by the idea of buying her a grandson and refuses. We next see him checking in at a hotel. The 50k he will be paid reminded him how much he misses Acapulco. 



Naturally, good twin rejects the absurd idea and Hill is shown the door. But Hill and good twin hit it off on their second meeting. Hill has a natural rapport with her son. After getting off to a rocky start, they like each other. Henderson is believable as the good twin but her cliché acting and blonde wig as the bad twin does not come off as well. 

Lowry double-crosses good twin. Did not see that coming. He convinces her to take a restful day to herself so he can tamper with her car and lie to Hill that good twin has changed her mind and is willing to sign the papers to send her son back to Tedrow. A confused Hill blasts away to the house in his cool 1961 Thunderbird rental car. A scene that is repeated about four times in the film. The bad twin awaits in good twin’s brunette wig and signs the papers. Hill does not question her sudden change of heart but is visibly angry at her. And she has such a nice little boy.



Head-strong Tedrow, with her attorney in tow, fly to Mexico after the attorney’s phone conversation with Hill suggests there is a problem with accepting her offer. Upon arrival at the airport, they see Lowry tampering with good twin’s car. How this is possible I do not know, but it is incredible timing on their part. I am surprised they even recognize him. The local police are also aware of this (oh, come on!) and all three decide to fake good twin’s accident. Lowry and bad twin are confident they will inherit 500k from her sister’s will. With all parties present, good twin walks into the room. Bad twin is stunned. Lowry a tad queasy.

The ending is a contrived happy one as everyone is now pleased with each other. The boy can stay with mom and Hill loses 50k in a flash. His trustworthy handling of the affair, however, endears him to the attorney. Maybe “The Deadly In-Law” would have been a more accurate title.

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