Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Other (1972)

Set in idyllic 1935 Connecticut, The Other follows young twins Niles and Holland as they run about their small farm fishing, playing in the apple cellar, harassing the old lady down the lane and caring for their heartsick mother. Niles is the “good son.” He reads to his mother, spends time with his grandmother and is always hesitant to become involved in Holland’s schemes. Holland, on the other hand, sneaks around and enjoys playing tricks on people…tricks that soon turn deadly. When a series of accidents befall those that have irked Holland, Niles becomes suspicious of his twin. Is there something even more sinister going on, though? Niles carries around an old tin that holds an old ring and a severed finger. Who do these belong to? Is Niles really the evil one?

The story, with its many sub-plots and different relationships between characters, is very well-developed. I loved the time and location – the 1930s in rural Connecticut – that make the film a visual treat to watch. There is even a nifty carnival scene that features a freak show! The main thing that drives the film is the story, though, and it is a disturbing one, especially towards the end.

The acting is superb, with special note going to the two twins that played Niles (Chris Udvarnoky) and Holland (Martin Udvarnoky). The two blonde-haired, blue-eyed boys do a wonderful job of conveying both good (Niles) and evil (Holland). For being so young (probably around seven or eight) they do a spectacular job of conveying many emotions. The rest of the more seasoned cast shines as well…John Ritter even has a small role as a member of the family!

I really enjoyed this movie, even though it starts off pretty slow. Once it gets going, though, it sweeps you up into the mystery. I, for one, couldn’t look away once the film got going.

Made in 1972 and directed by Robert Mulligan, The Other still stands today as an entertaining and creepy psychological thriller. The finale of the film, featuring a defenseless baby, a barrel full of water and the evil twin is one that must be seen!

Available on Amazon!

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