Gaslight - The Eclectic Cinema

The Eclectic Cinema
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Gaslight   PG
USA | 1944                       114 minutes
George Cukor
Charles Boyer|Ingrid Bergman|Joseph Cotten|Angela Lansbury

We’ve reached ‘C’ in the ABC of Cinema – ‘C’ is for American director George Cukor, known for The Philadelphia Story (1940), Born Yesterday (1950), A Star is Born (1954) and My Fair Lady (1964), among many others in the half century from the early 1930s.

Gaslight is a fine and very atmospheric Victorian melodrama and source of the verb ‘to gaslight’, now well-known in current vocabulary.

As a young teenager, Paula is removed from London to Italy, following the murder of her aunt, a celebrated opera singer. The case remains unsolved, but some years later, Paula returns to the still-vacant house on Thornton Square with her new husband, Gregory Anton. Things that could bring back bad memories to Paula are cleared away, and the couple settle in to their new life in London. Soon, though, Paula starts to hear strange noises around the house, the gas lighting begins to flicker, she becomes forgetful, she loses important personal possessions and wonders if she is losing her mind. She does not realise the extent of her husband’s control, or the reason for it.

Ingrid Bergman is Paula and won an Oscar for Best Actress in the role. Charles Boyer was nominated for his role as the gaslighting, menacing master of the house. Joseph Cotton is the solid friend who helps to release Paula from her entrapment. But also of note is Angela Lansbury, age 18, in her first screen role, as the attractive, insolent maid whom Gregory employs to keep an eye on his wife.

The film is a remake of a 1940 British film, of the same name, directed by Thorold Dickinson. When MGM bought the rights to remake the film, the contract apparently included a clause requiring all negatives and prints of the earlier film to be destroyed. Fortunately, this destruction was never completed, and both films remain available and are both highly regarded.

17 June 2024 MONDAY 19:30
Tickets £8.00|£5.00 (up to age 25)
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