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USA 1973
Directed by
Brian De Palma
93 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars


Brian De Palma's first foray into the genre in which he would make his name is also a film that will only really appeal to cultists and fans of B-grade and those who will love it for its florid script, ham acting, low-rent production values, in others words, precisely the qualities that make it a bad movie.

Co-scripted by De Palma from his original story it tells the Hitchcockian tale of an ambitious reporter, Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt), for a small-town paper who witnesses what appears to be a brutal murder in an apartment opposite hers. She tries to interest the police but they dismiss her assertions so she pursues her own investigation.

Hitchcockian it may be (Rear Window,1954 is the clear point of reference) but even on his worst day Hitchcock never made anything as gimcrack as Sisters although to be fair clearly De Palma was as much if not more playing with the genre as he was giving his audience an actual thriller. One imagines that Hitchcock’s favourite composer Bernard Herrmann had no idea to what extent the master would be so roughly treated when he did the score for this film.

Somewhat surprisingly Sisters was well-received in its day and was praised for its stylishness (its effective split screen sequence and a black and white dream sequence being singled out in particular) and earned De Palma the reputation of a director to watch. Clearly there was something in this but unless you are really interested in De Palma's beginnings or are simply a schlock hound you can forget about this. 




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