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.
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
Columbia Pictures initially bought the property as a vehicle for its contract player Irene Dunne, as the prospect of reteaming her with Charles Boyer was tempting. However, the studio sold the rights to MGM, which wanted to star Hedy Lamarr. Eventually Ingrid Bergman played the Paula role. See more »
The gasolier in the foyer at the beginning of the movie is not the same one in the later scenes. See more »
This American-made version of the English thriller "Gaslight" is well-crafted and well-acted, with many moments of good suspense and tension.
Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer work very well in the two leads, and they get considerable help from the rest of the cast and the production.
The character of the fragile, self-doubting Paula is an ideal role for Bergman, who conveys Paula's anxious uncertainty while keeping her sympathetic and even engaging. Boyer likewise comes across very believably as her calculating husband, and the two leads make their characters into a strong foundation for the tense story.
Joseph Cotten does not really seem as if he could be a Scotland Yard detective, but in a more general way, he succeeds pretty well as a sympathetic policeman who wants to help personally while striving to get at the facts of the matter. A very young Angela Lansbury gives her character some pointed moments, and she becomes a useful part of creating the right atmosphere.
The story does, of course, have some less plausible elements, but it is written carefully enough that the seams rarely show. In fact, it seems to have been constructed rather carefully, so as to provide subtle hints that can be made use of later on. It all makes for a satisfying drama that also provides a pretty good showcase for its stars.
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