Other, The (1972)

The Other (1972), produced and directed by Robert Mulligan.


Have I seen the real world yet?

In a setup that reminds me of Ray Bradbury stories, twin boys in a big family enjoy idyllic days in a country house around the time of the Lindbergh kidnapping. We slowly note an unusual number of deaths and accidents around them. Niles seems a bit wild, but Holland is the Bad Seed.

Strangely, even though the two boys are played by actual twins -- who never made another movie -- we find that they are never in the frame at the same time. What's going on? Are they really two? Is one a figment or a ghost or...?

Even more strangely, their Russian granny is a bit witchy and has taught them "the game" where they project their minds into plants, birds, animals, other people and even into a grave: What do you see? Cold, dark, locked prison, a mahogany box with handles, a face...

In a great bit, Niles says he expects a bright angel to take him to heaven:


Holland: "She might take you to Hell".

Niles: "Angels don't go to Hell, only bad people do".

The damned look Holland gives him freezes the blood.

I'd never seen this before and it is a remarkable balance of the suggested and the explicit, a mix of the psychological type of thriller with intimations of supernatural horror. After one viewing I'm not sure how well it works: I complain about formulaic plots but when a film violates genre conventions I may be befuddled for a time.

Actor Tom Tryon adapted the screenplay from his novel, and was also executive producer.

Jerry Goldsmith score.

Twilight Time limited edition Blu-ray with an isolated score track.