Dead Again is a 1991 film directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi and Andy Garcia.Detective Mike Church is guilted by the priest who raised him into taking the case of a woman he ends up calling Grace. She's amnesiac and suffers from trauma-induced muteness, broken by nightmares in which she can only cry out "somebody help me!" and the word "Disher!". The fact that she turned up at a particular convent indicates she has some connection to the house — which used to belong to a famous composer named Roman Strauss.With a little help from a disgraced psychiatrist, Mike and Grace seek out the assistance of a hypnotist, in order to see if hypnosis will bring back her ability to speak in the daytime. When her voice returns in the course of the therapy, the hypnotist decides to try past life regression on both Grace and Mike. Grace's past life reveals a romance between Roman and a woman named Margaret — and their lives in California as chronicled by a tabloid journalist. As the pieces begin to fall into place, Grace fears that Mike is the reincarnation of the man who killed her in a previous life. The truth is a little stranger than that.
Kenneth Branagh plays both Mike Church and Roman Strauss, while Emma Thompson plays both Grace and Margaret Strauss.
In addition, Jo Anderson plays the nun who's pleading Grace's case in the present day, and a starlet who dismisses Roman in the past sequence, while composer Patrick Doyle plays a cop in the present day, and a party-goer in the past sequence.
Actor Allusion: Franklin's stutter is often assumed to be a call back to Jacobi's role in I, Claudius, but actually it's just a nice coincidence; that aspect of the character was settled on well before Jacobi was cast.
And This Is for...: The young Franklin gives this speech as he's stabbing Margaret to death with the scissors.
Bedlam House: The hospital where Mike tries to fob off Grace. It's strictly for women, but the place is full of extreme insanity cases and the staff is clearly either apathetic or overburdened. Mike fancies himself a tough guy detective who doesn't want to be burdened with a woman, but he can't bring himself to leave Grace in a place like this. So he takes her back to his apartment.
Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: Roman, when he finds Margaret's body, thereby getting the fingerprints on the murder weapon that contribute to him being convicted of the murder.
Drugs Are Bad: Gray Baker is still alive in Mike's time, and dying of throat cancer from the smoking habit he had during his reporter days. And yet, he's still so addicted that despite having a surgical hole in his throat, he begs Mike for a cigarette and smokes it through his trachia tube.
This inspires a horrified Mike to successfully quit smoking.
Dumb Struck: Grace, until her first hypnotherapy session (in the DVD Commentary, the writers confess that this was added in a later draft when they realized that all her lines up until that point were just variations on "Sorry, I don't remember".)
Hypno Fool: Averted. Mr. Madsen gets people to regress to past lives, but there's no Svengali-like command, or making people act like chickens. Though he wouldn't mind if you found him the odd bit of antique furniture while regressing.
Cozy Carlisle: Hey, thumbdick, I was a damn good shrink. Sixteen and a half years I worked with a lot of people through a lot of shit. OK, I slept with a patient or two. It's not like I didn't care about them. I loved being a doctor. I used to not charge half my patients. Then the fucking state comes along, they send in some bitch undercover, and I'm fucked. Ain't fair, is it?
Mama Bear: Inverted. Inga protected Frankie for more than 30 years, but he did not display his gratitude appropriately.
Shout-Out: The film contains several shout-outs to Branagh's previous film, an adaptation of Henry V. Roman's prisoner number is the date of the Battle of Agincourt, the Life magazine with the article about about Roman and Margaret is a 1948 issue with a cover story about Laurence Olivier (who also directed and starred in a film version of Henry V), and a fight scene occurs on Los Angeles' Shakespeare Bridge.
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Inverted; though Robin Williams does appear prominently in the trailer, he's only in three scenes, and isn't listed in the opening credits or the poster. In interviews, Williams said he did this deliberately so he could play against type, and audiences wouldn't assume the movie was a comedy.
With This Ring: Mike asks the amnesiac if she wears her Irish Wedding Band (Claddagh ring) in the "married" or "single" position. He's disappointed to see she wears it in the married position until it's revealed they're a reincarnated husband and wife.