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OUTTAKES

Remaking A Remake--or Maybe Not

March 09, 1986|Nancy Mills

If the story line for the new Ann Jillian movie for NBC, "Killer in the Mirror," sounds familiar, it should.

The two-hour mystery, which airs March 31, has Jillian as Karen, a struggling antique dealer, and her twin sister, rich and devious Samantha. After Samantha drowns, Karen assumes her identity as a wealthy widow--involving her in a murder her sister may have committed (that's the supposed premise, but beware of further twists).

It sounds a bit like "Dead Ringer" (1964), with Bette Davis as a twin who shoots the other and assumes her identity. Also "A Stolen Life" (1946), with Davis as a twin taking the other's place. Both were produced by Warner Bros., which co-produces "Killer in the Mirror." Although "Dead Ringer" was ostensibly an original, "A Stolen Life" was an acknowledged remake of the British "A Stolen Life" (1939)--with Elisabeth Bergner as the twins.

Still with us?

"Mirror" executive producer Jack Grossbart said his "initial concept was to do a remake of 'Dead Ringer,' a movie I had always loved. But everyone turned us down, saying 'Dead Ringer' was dated."

That was until two other TV movies about twins (ABC's "Dark Mirror" with Jane Seymour and NBC's "Deceptions" with Stefanie Powers) aired to good ratings. Then NBC gave it the go-ahead.

Grossbart said, "We've used the original concept of 'Dead Ringer'--the good twin and the bad twin--but we have a whole new story."

Meanwhile, Warners is hanging on to the title "Dead Ringer"--just in case.

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