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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gaslight (1940)

The house where an elderly woman (Marie Wright) was murdered has not been lived in for many years when a man (Anton Walbrook, THE RED SHOES) and his new wife (Diana Wynyard) move in. She is recovering from a recent breakdown but when strange things start happening she fears she is losing her mind and oddly enough, she is encouraged in that train of thought by her husband. Based on the play ANGEL STREET by Patrick Hamilton, this British film has long been buried in the shadow of its more famous 1944 American remake with Ingrid Bergman. For many years, it was suppressed from showing in the U.S. which led to the belief that it was actually superior to the 1944 MGM film. It's not. Oh, it's very good mind you but not only is the acting better in the MGM version (only Walbrook's devilish sadist stands out in the 1940 film), but it also has more of an atmosphere, a sense of dread. I suspect Anglophiles may prefer this version but they're both good enough to stand on their own merits. Directed by Thorold Dickinson. With Robert Newton, Catherine Cordell, Frank Pettingell and Jimmy Hanley.

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