Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, Angela Lansbury, Dame
May Witty, Barbara Everest. Directed by George Cukor. (114 min).
by Mr. Paws😸
is one of the great thrillers of the 1940s, though I wasn’t
necessarily thinking that while watching. It was
nominated for 7 Oscars, but I'm ashamed to say I’ve never seen the
film until now. Even worse, this is the first time I’ve ever
watched the great Charles Boyer. And I have the gall to call myself a
Gaslight initially unfolds as a mystery with the murder of famous singer Alice Anton at the hands of a man looking for her
precious jewel collection, which he didn’t find because her young
niece, Paula, suddenly showed up. Okay, so far so good. I enjoy a
good mystery now and then.
forward several years and Paula (Ingrid Bergman) is all grown up. She
inherited the old home where Alice died, but remains haunted by
memories of the murder, so she has since moved away. However, in a
whirlwind romance, she meets and marries pianist Gregory Anton
(Charles Boyer), who convinces her they should return to London and
live in the house. To ensure Paula’s not constantly reminded of her
aunt, Gregory stows all of Alice’s belongs in the attic and boards
up the door. So I guess the film ain’t a mystery, but still, so far so
good. Despite appearing to be simply protective of Paula, there’s
something intriguingly 'off' about Gregory that we don’t quite trust. Boyer is also sort-of
interesting in the role.
|"Hey...it's my turn to be tied up."|
As the narrative unfolds, Gregory’s protectiveness takes a dark
turn. Not only does he constantly try to keep Paula housebound, he
ventures out every single night, supposedly to where he can
work without disruption. In the meantime, Paula is unnerved by
flickering gaslights and strange noises in the house whenever she’s
alone. Not only that, various items go missing and Gregory soon
suggests she’s unconsciously stealing them. He becomes increasingly
cruel and accusatory, trying to convince her she is losing her mind.
By the time Inspector Cameron (Joseph Cotten) suspects a
nefarious agenda, it’s obvious Gregory killed Alice and has a
cold-blooded plan to get rid of Paula. Gaslight snuck
up on me, being a crackling psychological thriller the entire time
with one hateful son-of-a-bitch as its antagonist, played to icy
perfection by Boyer.
the film faded out, the first thing that popped into my head was,
Wow, that was a damn good movie. It’s one of those sneaky
films with no scenes that reach out and grab you, but by the final
act, you’re on the edge of your seat anyway. This disc also
includes the 1940 British version, but even though it came first, the
1944 MGM film is so suspenseful, well-written and perfectly-performed
that it pales in comparison.
is a great noir-tinged thriller that ranks among the best of the
genre. New to Blu-ray, the transfer is terrific and the inclusion of
the British version makes this release a must-own for classic movie
lovers. Now that I’ve seen this one, I guess I can hang onto my
cinephile card a little longer.
(1940 BRITISH VERSION) – Starring Anton Walbrook & Diana
Wyngard. Directed by Thorold Dickinson (84 min).
LUX RADIO THEATRE BROADCAST -
ON GASLIGHT” - Featurette hosted by Pia
Lindstrom (Ingrid Bergman’s daughter) and features an interview
with Angela Lansbury.
OSCAR WINNERS NEWSREEL – The year Bergman won an Oscar for this
film, as did Bing Crosby for Going My Way.
MEE-OW! LIKE TAUNTING A MOUSE TO DEATH.