User Reviews (10)

Add a Review

  • If you like your film noir declawed and defanged, then Henry Levin's Two of a Kind is the movie for you. The vexing part is that it starts off strong, keeping the viewer off balance. Lizabeth Scott is scouring the continent looking for a particular man. Her quest takes her from a Chicago orphanage to the carny circuit to the Department of the Navy in Washington; she finally finds him, working in a bingo parlor, in Los Angeles where she started.

    He's Edmond O'Brien, and she's after him because he fits the bill for a con job that she and her lover Alexander Knox have been hatching for a long time. A wealthy old couple has nobody to leave their fortune to, because their son vanished when he was only three years old. Knox, their attorney, and Scott are grooming O'Brien as a ringer to show up and claim the inheritance, which they'll all split. There are a couple of catches. For one, the kid lost the tip of his finger in a childhood accident, but since he can cash in his own fingertip for millions, O'Brien falls in with the scheme. The other is that Scott, to Knox's chagrin, starts to go sweet on O'Brien.

    Up to the scene when Scott smashes O'Brien's finger in a car door, so he'll have reason to have the first two joints amputated, Two of a Kind promises to be low-down and unsentimental. But the movie's tone suffers an incapacitating fracture with the arrival of Terry Moore, as a niece of the old couple and the patsy through which O'Brien will secure his entry into the family's affections. (She's a vapid dilettante whose hobby is collecting `causes;' falling for no-good men and trying to reform them seems to be one of them.)

    O'Brien gains admittance to the family; his candor about his raffish past puts him in good stead. But when the pot of gold seems just within reach, the patriarch drops a bombshell: He won't leave a cent to his newfound son on the grounds that it would ruin him. This prompts Knox to rachet up the swindle to the next level - arranging an early send-off for his unwitting benefactors. Scott and O'Brien demur, but by this time they're in too deep....

    The dark tone of the opening returns briefly, but it's too late and doesn't last. Despite that brutal finger-smashing, there's a squeamishness to the movie that doesn't let it pursue the expectations it raises. The insipid ending opens regretful speculation: Whatever happened to the Lizabeth Scott of Too Late For Tears, the Edmond O'Brien of 711 Ocean Drive, and the Henry Levin who directed Night Editor?
  • The two of a kind of this film's title are Edmond O'Brien and Lizabeth Scott, two schemers who aren't above their fair share of dirty dealings but who draw the line at murder.

    The implausible scheme in this one involves O'Brien posing as the lost son of a millionaire who will cash in on the millionaire's inheritance once he dies and split it with Scott and the millionaire's attorney (played by Alexander Knox), who engineers the whole thing. The plot of course unravels, as plots usually do in movies like this, until talk of murder comes up, as it invariably does. One murder is planned, another is attempted, but all ends well for our bad-but-not-so-bad-that-we-don't-kind-of-like-them lovers.

    My favorite thing about this movie is that the plot these crooks hatch has a thousand holes in it from the beginning, but the movie acknowledges that and makes use of them. For once, the movie is as smart as we are.

    Terry Moore has a large role as the millionaire's niece, a do-gooder who is determined to find the sugar at the middle of O'Brien's bitter pill. Her appearance in the film brings a strong comic element to it (she's turned on by being robbed at gunpoint) and keeps things refreshingly off kilter. There are hints at romantic comedy mixed in with brutal scenes, like the one where O'Brien allows his finger to be smashed in a car door so that doctors will have to amputate it. I suppose fans of true noirs may be disappointed that this film is far too light overall to truly earn the title, but there's a lot of fun to be had if you can look past that.

    Grade: B
  • This is an uneasy blend of mystery, suspense, and comedy. I am always dubious about mixed genre films, and I believe this could and should have been better as a straight film noir. However, it is still a good film and for all like myself who admire Lizabeth Scott and enjoy watching her films, it is a must. She was most famous for playing Dusty four years earlier, opposite Humphrey Bogart, in the stunning film noir DEAD RECKONING (1947). She was one of the best femme fatale actresses in film noir, though she could also show a warm, kindly, humorous and smiling layer underneath, as we see here. That entitled her to be 'redeemed' from her wicked ways from time to time in films. It is always nice when a femme fatale can be redeemed, but it does not happen very often, in life or on film. Scott is entrancing here as usual, and is the main reason we keep watching. The male lead is Edmond O'Brien. I wonder how Scott really felt when she repeatedly flung herself (with excessive force, I felt) into O'Brien's arms and began giving him passionate kisses. She does it often here. Doth the ladye embrace too muche? O'Brien was a very fine actor, and it was Ida Lupino who seems to have realized this most enthusiastically, for she daringly cast him in the lead for her provocative film THE BIGAMIST (1953, see my review), which was a triumphant casting coup. O'Brien also won an Oscar and an Oscar nomination in other films. But he was no handsome hunk, was podgy and a bit sweaty. It all goes to show how talent can overcome lack of looks. Terry Moore plays a dotty young niece in this film, with wide-eyed insistence and a very broad interpretation. She is meant to be the comedic character, and despite the ridiculous nature of her role and the absurdity it adds to the plot, she manages it nicely. In fact, one wants to give her an indulgent hug. So it all sort of works. Henry Levin directs this mixed pudding of a film and delivers a watchable product. Oh yes, I almost forgot the story. An elderly couple lost their child at the age of three on a street in Chicago and have never found him. Their unscrupulous lawyer and his girl friend Lizabeth Scott want to 'find' a man who will play along, pretend to be the long lost son (that's O'Brien), and inherit ten million dollars which they will then all split between them. But of course things turn out not to be that simple. After O'Brien is accepted as the son, things begin to unravel. As to what then happens, I ain't sayin'.
  • Lightweight noir about a con where Edmond O'Brien pretends to be the long-lost son of a millionaire. The movie is fun but never goes to the dark places it seems to hint at. Lizabeth Scott is set up to be a great femme fatale (the scene where she ropes O'Brien into the scheme and gets him to make a brutal sacrifice is the highlight of the film) but her character fizzles out. Fans of con artist flicks will be disappointed as the plan doesn't have the intricate details that make them enjoyable. Although it's an enjoyable film (O'Brien especially), it all wraps up far too neatly and without much sizzle. I did enjoy the sleazy subtext of Terry Moore as the "good girl" who gets turned on by bad guys. When she meets O'Brien, you can read "rape fantasy" all over her face.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Another reviewer said that the film loses some of its impact because it pulls its punches. I would agree, as it could have been better if it hadn't done this...but it still is worth seeing.

    Soon after the film begins, bad-girl Lizabeth Scott approaches Edmond O'Brien with a proposition. If he'd be willing to tear off the end of one of his fingers, she'd give him a chance to get rich. The hitch? Well, he was going to have to pose as the long-lost son of a rich man and his wife. These two, along with the trusted family lawyer all work to make this plot work, though by the end of the film, O'Brien is starting to have some second thoughts.

    Any film noir movie with Edmond O'Brien is worth seeing--and many of them (such as "DOA") are classics. While this is far from a classic, it, too, is worth a look because of the actors. I just wish it had been like most noir films--been a bit darker in tone and WITHOUT characters who exhibit sings of a conscience.
  • It's a nifty premise that fails to fulfill an early promise. Seductress Brandy (Scott) lures wiseguy Lefty (O'Brien) into a million-dollar fraud scheme. All it will cost him is time in a swanky beach house and half a finger. But that's okay because he'll still have nine and a-half left, plus a big inheritance from a wealthy old couple. Then too, if he gets cold feet, slinky Brandy is always there to warm him up. Mastermind Vincent (Knox) has hatched what looks like a sure thing.

    However, I'm with reviewer bmacy. After that promising start, especially with the slamming car door, the movie takes an irretrievable tumble. And that's when Terry Moore's loopy overacting hits the scene. Catch that night time set-up where Lefty breaks into Kathy's (Moore) place and she squeals with delight over what appears a potential rapist or killer. Sorry, but that's about as poorly written and ill conceived a scene as I've witnessed in some time. And who was it who decided to insert Lefty's face-making as comedic accompaniment to Kathy's description of him. It's not only unnecessary, but unsubtly attacks the whole surrounding mood. As bmacy points out, by the time the movie recovers from such ruptures, it's already too late.

    At the same time, director Levin appears to have little feel for the material, his career being mainly in light comedies. As a result, the story simply unfolds in pedestrian fashion without any distinguishing touches or development. As a result, and despite its two noir icons, the 80-minutes comes across as more disappointing than gritty crime drama.
  • rmax30482325 April 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    A feckless guy (O'Brian) is swept up in a scheme to have him pose as the long-lost son of a millionaire. This could easily have been a deep, dark exploration of human nature but it's not. Any doubts about its quality or nature are dispelled when O'Brian must have the tip of his little finger crushed and removed so as to resemble the hand of the absent millionaire's son.

    How is the scene handled? O'Brian puts his finger in the crook of the car door before Lizabeth Scott reduces it to pulp. He lights up a cigarette, puts it in his mouth, positions the finger, the door crushes it, and he squints a little bit.

    The whole movie is that way. Nothing is dealt with seriously. O'Brian is a madcap wisecracker. Everyone smiles happily as they discuss bilking the rich guy. The only true evildoer is Alexander Knox. Wily, you know, but no sense of humor. And the couple run off happily together.

    It's a divertimento. An hour and a half of amusement and slight interest.
  • Two of a Kind is directed by Henry Levin and written by James Edward Grant, James Gunn and Lawrence Kimble. It stars Edmond O'Brien, Lizabeth Scott, Terry Moore, Alexander Knox, Griff Barnett, Robert Anderson and Virginia Brissac. Music is by George Duning and cinematography by Burnett Guffey.

    Plot has O'Brien, Scott and Knox try to con a rich old couple that their son, who disappeared when he was three, has resurfaced in the older body of O'Brien. Thus they hope to get the $10 million inheritance due to the heir upon the death of the parentsÂ…

    It all starts so very well, Scott's sultry blonde hunts out O'Brien's shady player to do a major con and he falls for her feminine whiles hook line and sinker, even agreeing to have his little finger mangled in a car door for the con cause. Sadly this is where the picture falls apart and unfurls in a lightweight manner.

    Interesting possibilities are ignored, such as Moore's sprightly niece character who likes to straighten out bad men (it ends up playing as something that should be in a Cary Grant screwball) and a murderous plot that threatens to make the ending more lively (by this time the O'Brien/Scott pairing has become sickly nice), to leave us with what turns out to be a quite repugnant ending.

    Guffey's black and white photography is crisp but just like the film itself, it really isn't noir at all. Levin and the cast try hard, but saddled with an unadventurous screenplay it rounds out as a minor B movie of little substance. 5/10
  • Edmond O'Brien, Lizabeth Scott, Alexander Knox, and Terry Moore star in "Two of a Kind" from 1951.

    Brandy Kirby (Scott) and an attorney, Vincent Mailer (Knox) for a wealthy man, William McIntyre find the perfect person in Lefty Farrell (O'Brien) to pretend to be the long-lost son of McIntyre's. He will then inherit $10 million, and since McIntyre and his wife are old, there won't be long to wait until he inherits.

    Brandy seduces Lefty into taking the job. In order to do it, he has to lose part of his little finger, as the McIntyre's son did. A friend of Brandy's (MooreO who is the McIntyre's niece, introduces him to them when she sees his finger and asks questions. It's looking good that Lefty will be accepted as the son and inherit a fortune.

    I had a few problems with this noir. The writer tried to lighten it up with the presence and perky acting of Terry Moore, which was way out of place and came off as overdone.

    Lefty is supposed to be a real charmer and a chick magnet. I'm sorry, Edmond O'Brien? Good actor but hardly oozing with sex and good looks. Under contract at that time were William Holden and Glenn Ford. I doubt many women would have turned them down.

    Lizabeth Scott, one of the noir queens, looked great in her gorgeous clothes and shorter hair and, with that smoky voice of hers, was very effective. Knox really didn't have much to do. O'Brien was good as usual but for me, wrong for the part.

    Without the Moore character and better casting of Lefty, the film would have been stronger. Instead, it was just passable.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I enjoyed this little "caper" film a lot, despite the fact that its story is extremely improbably and lightweight. It presents an excellent example of "fun noir" -- it does not delve into the soul of the post-war disillusionment, but it features many other tropes and styles that would make this genre popular in retrospect. The interplay between Liz Scott and Edmund O'Brien is the high point of the film. There are many scenes where it's impossible not to laugh out loud as each tries to come off as more hard and cynical than the other. However, the ending of the film is much too pat (who is really going to so easily forgive the con, as this millionaire?). Terry Moore is cute and hilarious as a nympho who gets turned on when O'Brien pretends to be a burglar (previously she had failed to notice him no matter what he did). This film is no champion, but it's a winner.