Translation – Like Two Drops of Water, Also titled The Spitting Image, or The Dark Room of Damacles as it was an adaptation from the 1958 novel of the same title by Willem Frederik Hermans.
Plot from imdb.com
The fainthearted cigar trader Ducker keeps himself quiet during World War II. That changes when parachutist Dorbeck lands in his backyard. It turns out the parachutist bears a remarkable resemblance to Ducker. Ducker follows Dorbeck blindly, becomes involved in the Dutch resistance and soon starts killing people. When he escapes through German lines to the freed South Netherlands, no one has ever heard of Dorbeck.Written by Arnoud Tiele (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Info about the film/context
“Transformation under duress is at the nexus of this excellent wartime drama by noted Dutch filmmaker Fons Rademakers. The setting is Holland under German occupation and young Ducker (Lex Schoorel) is surviving the war and an unhappy marriage the best he can. Then one dark night, a mysterious secret agent who looks remarkably like Ducker except for his black hair, parachutes into the young man’s back yard. The secret agent, Dorbeck, enlists Ducker’s help in his missions against the Germans, and before much time has elapsed, Ducker has joined the resistance fighters and is actively engaged in the anti-German, underground war effort. He becomes daring, confident, imaginative — all the qualities missing in his earlier life. But then the war ends and brings an ironic twist to Ducker’s career as a brave patriot. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
Like Two Drops of Water (Dutch: Als twee druppels water) is a 1963 Dutch drama filmdirected by Fons Rademakers. It is an adaptation of the 1958 novel The Darkroom of Damocles by Willem Frederik Hermans. It was entered into the 1963 Cannes Film Festival and was selected as the Dutch entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the36th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
- Documentary flourished in The Netherlands in the 1950’s due to lack of funding post war for the higher costs of fiction films.
“In 1956, the NBB and the government founded the Production Fund in order to stimulate feature film production. Fons Rademakers (b. 1920) made his debut with Village on the River (1958), a playful series of stories about a country doctor, which received an Oscar ® nomination; eventually, Rademakers won an Academy Award ® for The Assault . In Als twee druppels water ( The Spitting Image , 1963), he demythologized the role of “resistance heroes” during World War II, and in Max Havelaar (1976) he treated another national trauma: the colonial past. With these tasteful literary adaptations Dutch fiction film came to maturity.”
This site also has contextual information – an overview of Dutch cinema peaks and troughs from the 50s-90s.
“Withdrawn for 40 years following its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1963,The Spitting Image is a psychologically acute story of a mild-mannered young man drawn deeper and deeper into the Dutch resistance against the Nazi occupation. (Fons Rademakers, 1963; 120 mins.)”
“A mild-mannered Dutch tobacconist’s dull life during the Nazi occupation is suddenly enlivened when a spy who looks eerily like him parachutes into the backyard. Following the spy’s strange orders, the tobacconist finds himself tangled up in assassinations, cryptic secret meetings, and incomprehensible double crosses. By turns giddy and frightening, this 1963 oddity is rather like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as imagined by Kafka. Half the fun is trying to figure out what it means: is it an oblique parody of spy films? A philosophical parable about our dual natures? The gorgeous, crisp black-and-white cinematography is by Raoul Coutard (Breathless, Lola, Jules and Jim); Fons Rademakers directed. In Dutch with subtitles. 1963, 121 min.By Hank Sartin”
Dutch Filmmaker At Festival
By John Hartl
Fons Rademakers was showered with prizes four years ago for his World War II classic, “The Assault,” which won the Golden Space Needle award for best picture and director at the 1986 Seattle International Film Festival. It then went on to collect that year’s Golden Globe and Academy Award for best foreign film.
The 69-year-old Dutch filmmaker is back this weekend to show two more movies at the festival, which introduced his work to local audiences with the American premiere of “Max Havelaar” 13 years ago.
“The Spitting Image,” which plays at 2:30 this afternoon at the Egyptian, is a wide-screen 1963 psychological thriller about a man coerced by his “double” to collaborate with the Nazis. (I was unable to attend an impromptu press screening earlier this week, but free-lance film reviewer Michael Upchurch saw it and calls it one of the best things in the festival.)
“The Rose Garden,” which is Rademakers’ first completed film since “The Assault,” plays at 9:30 tonight at the Egyptian. It, too, deals with the long-range impact of a World War II incident: the hanging of 20 Jewish children in Hamburg on April 20, 1945, just as British troops approached the city.
“But the only thing the two films have in common is the wartime background,” Rademakers said yesterday. “While `The Spitting Image’ is a psychological story about human behavior, `The Rose Garden’ is more in the form of a statement, a document, a way of saying `Isn’t it a shame this exists?’ ”
Although “The Spitting Image” was photographed by the French New Wave legend Raoul Coutard, and was a success in Europe in the 1960s, it was never sold to the United States for distribution. It made its American debut in January, as part of a New York archival series, “Netherlandscapes: 85 Years of Dutch Filmmaking”; The Village Voice’s Gary Giddins called it “a lost classic.”
It’s one of Rademakers’ few wide-screen movies and he’s particularly proud of how it looks. He said it’s his favorite kind of picture because it blends ideas with a strong, complex narrative.
Rademakers’ first English-language film to be released in the United States, “The Rose Garden” was begun by Cannon Films, which didn’t have the money to promote it properly when it opened in Los Angeles last December. It has barely been seen elsewhere in the country, although Liv Ullmann earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance as a defense attorney, and the cast includes Peter Fonda as Ullmann’s ex-husband and Maximilian Schell as the only survivor of the group hanging.
Fictionalized as a contemporary courtroom drama, the script was inspired by the fact that parents of the murdered children tried and failed to get the ex-Nazi who ordered the hangings into court three years ago.
Since winning his Oscar, Rademakers has been trying to arrange financing for “An Instant in the Wind,” a historical drama about an affair between a bourgeois white woman and a poor black man in 18th-century South Africa. Two Oscar-winning actors have said they would play the leading roles (he calls it “the ultimate story about racism”), but financing still hasn’t come through.”
Notes from ipad clip:
Hard to establish changes in colour to the decor as this film is in black and white, the Tuschinski Theer features in this clip close to its current appearance. The couple enter the front entrance, which only looks different in the barriers that stand outside the ticket desk. The doors and interior remain relatively unchanged, as the Tuschinski received funding to refurbish the interior (keeping the original design). The foyer look almost identical to now. The popcorn machines are undoubtedly modernised now however 🙂
The male character – I assume Ducker? passes a gun to his female companion whilst the film is screening (is this the Grote Zaal? if so they did not make use of the grand interior as the scene remains in the dark.
Back in the foyer, he throws his pursuer down onto the carpet ( something to compare….this carpet changed 20 years later in 1984 – being redone using the original thread in Morocco. The patterns were lost despite efforts to use the identical colours and thread. -info from http://www.amsterdam.info/cinema/tuschinski/ see more details below).
In this scene you can see the decor and warm yellow lamps that characterise the Tuschinski’s art deco interior to this day.
The old cinema needed renovation. First in 1984, the whole cinema carpet has been redone using the original thread in Morocco. Somehow, despite having the identical colours and the original thread, the carpet’s patterns have been lost. Still the effort was enormous. The carpet for the main foyer was 50m long and had to flown in one piece to Amsterdam by a KLM plane. KLM covered the cost of this cargo (more than $ 100.000). In 1998-2002 Tuschinski has been thoroughly rebuilt with the aim to restore it as a historical monument. The old original mural has been discovered and the painstaking restoration of the interiors performed. At the back of the old cinema, a modern annex has added with three more screens. The technical equipment of the cinema has been modernized. http://www.amsterdam.info/cinema/tuschinski/