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Gaslight (1944)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  May 1944 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 14,852 users  
Reviews: 106 user | 57 critic

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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Title: Gaslight (1944)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Barbara Everest ...
Emil Rameau ...
Edmund Breon ...
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

Taglines:

Strange drama of a captive sweetheart! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

May 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Haus der Lady Alquist  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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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

The movie won an Academy Award for set decoration. The gasoliers were real and the one in Charles Boyer's bedroom came from the 1872 Menlo Park, CA, mansion of Sen. Milton Latham, which was torn down in 1942. See more »

Goofs

When Nancy is following Elizabeth up the stairs, they are both carrying several folded sheets. Immediately when they reach the top of the landing the camera focuses close-up on Nancy, who is looking at the closed off top floor - in this shot she is not carrying the sheets. See more »

Quotes

Gregory Anton: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to me.
Brian Cameron: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to her.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in M*A*S*H: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (Pathetique)
(1798) (uncredited)
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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