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.
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 <email@example.com
Director George Cukor asked producers to hire Paul Huldschinsky to help design the film's intricate Victorian sets. Huldschinsky was a German refugee who had fled his native country because of the war. He had been well-acquainted with upper-class European decor, because his family had accumulated wealth through their newspaper business and his wife was the heiress of a German railroad fortune. Huldschinsky had lost much of his material wealth when he fled to the United States, however had retained his eye for period decoration. He was working on rather routine, uncredited set dressings when Cukor tagged him for work on this film. The film's producers pushed for a more well-known and established set designer, but Cukor stuck with Huldschinsky. The gamble paid off as Huldschinsky's set designs won an Academy Award. See more »
The guide in the Tower of London is incorrectly shown as wearing the uniform of the Chelsea pensioners instead of the Yeoman guard. See more »
Ingrid Bergman experiences the murder of the aunt who has raised her. Ten years later, she returns to the house in which it happened with her new husband (Charles Boyer). Something is wrong, though, as her husband, once so kind to her, grows cold and cruel. Furthermore, Bergman begins to lose things, misplace things, and develop a case of kleptomania, or at least that's her husband's explanation. Boyer convinces his wife that she is going insane, that she is sick, and she becomes little more than a shut-in. She becomes paranoid, especially at her maids (the younger of which is played by Angela Lansbury in her first film role). Meanwhile, Joseph Cotten, a detective, gets an inkling that something is up in that household, and that it might be related to the aunt's murder. Gaslight is a very atmospheric film. The black and white cinematography is full of shadows, and there are interesting things going on in the focus. The music is also quite excellent, and very original. Classical music is also used to great effect. The plot is great, although maybe a tiny bit predictable (it didn't harm my enjoyment of the film whatsoever). The performances are top-notch, although Cotten doesn't add much to the picture. I mean, he's good, but his role perhaps isn't the one the original playwright or the screenwriters were most interested in. Anyone probably could have done just as well. Bergman's performances is to be counted amongst her best. Charles Boyer, an actor with whom I am unfamiliar, is so wicked in the film. You hate him, but you've got to admit it's an effective performance! And I can't finish without praising Angela Lansbury. Dame May Whitty also has a nice supporting role, although the role - the comic relief - is sometimes used at a bad time. I don't think, for instance, she should have come back in during the final sequence. Anyway, little flaws don't detract much from this masterpiece. Bravo, Mr. Cukor! 10/10.
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