Title: Gaslight (1944)
Director: George Cukor
Screenwriter(s): John Van Druten, Walter Reisch, & John L. Balderston
Producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr.
In Theaters: May 4th, 1944
Run Time: 114 minutes
Starring: Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, & Angela Lansbury
Storyline: Paula’s aunt Alice Alquist, a famous entertainer, is murdered in her home. Paula, who lives with her aunt finds the body. Police fail to find the killer and Paula is sent away to school. Ten years later, Paula returns to London with her new husband. They take up residence in her aunt’s house, which she has inherited. Paula is increasingly isolated by her husband but does come to the attention of an admirerer of her aunt, Mr. Brian Cameron.Written by Sandra Douglass
My Review: I can’t remember ever seeing an Ingrid Bergman movie I enjoyed so much, because of her! Casablanca I love because of Humphrey Bogart, of course. But with the mystery of Gaslight and the way she portrayed her character, I see why she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1944. I must say the movie seemed all too predictable at first. I mean, you know instantly that he’s messing with her mind trying to make her think she’s going crazy. What I don’t realize is there is much more behind his reasonings for her hearing the noises going on upstairs. It’s a brilliantly written script because it allows the audience to interact with a mystery movie that not many are capable of doing today. I find a movie that claims to be of mystery and suspense to be of the highest caliber when it it able to allow me to guess what’s coming next yet still find me totally stumped once the twist of an ending is revealed. If a movie can do that, it can easily stand the test of time, therefore, entering into the realm of a classic.
This is my first Charles Boyer film and I must say he is NOTHING like how he is made out to be in that classic I Love Lucy episode. But I suppose he was supposed to be making fun of himself as well. I can see why he might have had quite a female following although, compared to other actors coming from that time period, I wouldn’t consider him among the best of them.
Angela Lansbury’s part in all this, while funny, at times, confused me very much. I wasn’t sure if she was working for him, in that she knew his scheme all along for making his wife believe she was going mad? Or not? I think they could have done more with not just her, but with her character, that it fell flat for me, when after all the fuss was made over how she felt about Ingrid Bergman’s character, they don’t pursue the storyline. Especially, when they also make it a point to mention that she’s been seeing the police constable on the beat of that neighborhood during her off hours.
This is definitely a movie I will see over and over and over again, knowing I will see something new I didn’t see the first time around. Don’t you love when a movie can do that?
Have you ever seen Gaslight? Either this version or the 1940 British version that MGM famously tried to buy the rights of and then burn before it made it to the U.S.?
My Rating: ★★★★★