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Gaslight (1944)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | May 1944 (USA)
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Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Barbara Everest ...
Emil Rameau ...
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Halliwell Hobbes ...
Tom Stevenson ...
Heather Thatcher ...
Lawrence Grossmith ...
Jakob Gimpel ...
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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 admirer of her aunt, Mr. Brian Cameron. Written by Sandra Douglass <skayd@lib.ksu.edu

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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M-G-M's melodrama See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

May 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Haus der Lady Alquist  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Cukor suggested that Ingrid Bergman study the patients at a mental hospital to learn about nervous breakdowns. She did, focusing on one woman in particular, whose habits and physical quirks became part of the character. See more »

Goofs

After the shot is fired, the maid runs to the door and calls across the street to the policeman. Nancy (Lansbury), who is standing with the policeman, obviously yells out, but there is no sound of her voice heard. See more »

Quotes

Gregory Anton: I don't ask you to understand me. Between us all the time were those jewels, like a fire - a fire in my brain that separated us - those jewels which I wanted all my life. I don't know why... Goodbye, Paula.
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Crazy Credits

The opening and closing credits are displayed over a background of a burning gaslight. If you look at the shadow on the wallpaper, you see a man strangling a woman. See more »

Connections

Version of Luce a gas (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (Pathetique)
(1798) (uncredited)
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Them there eyes
6 November 2001 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

If you're looking for everything you've ever wanted to know about horror, mystery, depression, and suspense, go take a peek into Ingrid Bergman's eyes.

The actress -- who would soon become blacklisted after her marriage to Italian director Roberto Rossellini -- can convey every emotion and nuance of her character through her amazingly expressive eyes. Completely believable in George Cukor's Gaslight as a wife whose husband (Charles Boyer) is trying to make insane, Bergman can show you all her turmoil and emotional stress just by looking around.

The plot is simple, perhaps even arcane. A famous opera singer is murdered in London, leaving behind no motive, no clues, and Paula, the young niece who discovered the body. Paula is sent to Italy, where she, too, studies music, until she elopes with an older, dashing pianist (Boyer). He convinces her to move back to the exact same house where her aunt was murdered, where nothing has been changed in all those years. And, naturally, here is where the movie really begins.

Soon, her husband starts acting very strangely, and starts convincing her that she is very ill and unable to go out. Trapped in the house, alone with her husband, a somewhat-deaf cook, and a tart of a housekeeper, Paula soon starts to hear noises, see things, lose things, and even hide things. Or is she? Is she going mad? Or is her husband -- who she is supposed to love, honor, and obey -- making her mad?

The show is Bergman's to steal, and she does so with gusto, garnering an Oscar for her endeavor. With her performance, Bergman transforms the character of Paula Alquist from a weak, paranoid wimp of a wife into a woman struggling with her own identity and her role in marriage and society. Perhaps unintentionally, perhaps unwittingly, Bergman's Paula is a symbol and a superhero for all women trapped in an abusive marriage. Even today.

Granted, the story line is somewhat contrived, and one can't help but wonder how Paula never notices that her husband is completely evil BEFORE the marriage. Also, Joseph Cotten, as the Scotland Yard detective smitten with Paula's beauty, seems to come out of nowhere. Still, the acting prevails over the plot, and what better actor to come out of nowhere than Cotten? His charm and charisma make up for his character's two-dimensionality.

Although there are faults, Gaslight is an extraordinary film, generating its suspense not from an evil lurking in the shadows, but from the psychology of the mind itself. Perhaps one of the first "pure" psychological thrillers, Gaslight, just like Ingrid Bergman's eyes, contains the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and beauty.


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