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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gaslight (1944)

A young girl (Ingrid Bergman) has a whirlwind romance with an impoverished pianist (Charles Boyer) in Italy and they are soon married. They return to her home in London where her Aunt was murdered several years ago, a murder which remained unsolved. Soon, the young bride begins showing signs of mental instability, forgetting things, losing things, hearing things. Based on Patrick Hamilton's play ANGEL STREET, it had been filmed four years earlier in England when MGM decided to remake the film for American audiences. One normally doesn't think of George Cukor and thrillers in the same sentence but it's a really well done Victorian suspense movie, elegant and claustrophobic with an intense performance by Bergman. Bergman is really amazing here, in the first of her three Oscar winning roles. She disappears into her part so deeply that you begin to fear for her sanity. While Boyer is very good, one wishes he had been a little more subtle in his performance, he's a bit too obvious and easy to see through (not unlike Anne Baxter's Eve Harrington). The suitably effective underscore is by Bronislau Kaper. With Joseph Cotten, Dame May Whitty, Barbara Everest and in her film debut, 17 year old Angela Lansbury as a cheeky maid.

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