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Gaslight (1944)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 30 October 1944 (Sweden)
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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.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

John Van Druten (screenplay), Walter Reisch (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Boyer ... Gregory Anton
Ingrid Bergman ... Paula Alquist
Joseph Cotten ... Brian Cameron
May Whitty ... Miss Thwaites (as Dame May Whitty)
Angela Lansbury ... Nancy
Barbara Everest Barbara Everest ... Elizabeth
Emil Rameau Emil Rameau ... Maestro Guardi
Edmund Breon ... General Huddleston
Halliwell Hobbes ... Mr. Muffin
Tom Stevenson Tom Stevenson ... Williams
Heather Thatcher ... Lady Dalroy
Lawrence Grossmith Lawrence Grossmith ... Lord Dalroy
Jakob Gimpel Jakob Gimpel ... Pianist
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Storyline

After the death of her famous opera-singing aunt, Paula is sent to study in Italy to become a great opera singer as well. While there, she falls in love with the charming Gregory Anton. The two return to London, and Paula begins to notice strange goings-on: missing pictures, strange footsteps in the night and gaslights that dim without being touched. As she fights to retain her sanity, her new husband's intentions come into question. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Strange drama of a captive sweetheart! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1944 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

La luz que agoniza See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Ingrid Bergman won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in this film, she became the first actress to win the category against actresses who had all been nominated for Best Actress before. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Paula Alquist Anton: [holding the brooch] I've found it at last, you see, but it doesn't help you, does it, and I'm trying to help you, aren't I, trying to help you to escape. How can a mad woman help her husband to escape?
See more »

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

Featured in Biography: Angela Lansbury: A Balancing Act (1998) 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

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User Reviews

 
Psychological terror distilled and made utterly palpable
13 April 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Gaslight (1944)

This is an uncharacteristic film for George Cukor, slipping sideways into Hitchcock turf for this period. Psychological suspense was never more focused, and less distracted, than you'll find in Gaslight however. You might find the plot too linear, to predictable overall, to be blown away, but in fact that's partly why the suspense works. As with great Hitchcock, you have a sense of where you going, and you want to stop it.

So we have Charles Boyer, smarmy, deceptive, and ultimately evil, leading his new wife down a path of mental anguish and, he hopes, madness. The wife is played with usual high stakes perfection by Ingrid Bergman (between her stunning roles in Casablanca and Spellbound). Cukor gets the most of her excesses, and her nuances. Boyer is more nuance, and is a perfect match. The movie is really about their back and forth, with Joseph Cotten making his appearance as a necessary line of safety and hope because we can't stand to see the woman go down without a fight.

Most of the film occurs in an old, lavishly decorated house, and the lights and camera-work are dreamy, dripping in rim light and shadow, in odd angles and closeups of their faces. It's quite an involving experience, and because you are limited to mostly these two characters, you get very intimate with them. Yes, the two maids are perfect, including a sassy Angela Lansbury in her first movie role. And the cop, too, is a classic bobby, handsome and cooperative.

The plot, alas, is the one weakness here. The man's obsession with gems is fair enough, but when we finally get to the attic, after many months of him being there searching for them, it's as if he's up there for the first time, opening drawers with cobwebs on them, scattering through drawers like a thief with five minutes and no more. It just undermines the whole premise of a man resolutely devoting his whole devious, murderous life to this one goal.

So forget the plot, exactly. It's a MacGuffin. The real movie is in the acting, the characters in their personal wringings out, and in how beautifully it is done.


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