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Encyclopedia > Gaslight (1944 film)
Gaslight

Directed by George Cukor
Produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr.
Written by Patrick Hamilton (play)
John Van Druten
Walter Reisch
John L. Balderston
Starring Charles Boyer
Ingrid Bergman
Joseph Cotten
Dame May Whitty
Angela Lansbury
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Editing by {{{editing}}}
Distributed by MGM
Released May 4, 1944 (U.S. release)
Running time 114 min.
Language English
Budget {{{budget}}}
Preceded by {{{preceded_by}}}
Followed by {{{followed_by}}}
IMDb profile

Gaslight is a 1944 film, considered film noir, directed by George Cukor starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. The film was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. Ingrid Bergman won the Best Actress Oscar while Boyer was nominated for Best Actor and Angela Lansbury was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in her film debut. The story is based on the Patrick Hamilton play Angel Street, in which a man marries a woman and tries to convince her she is crazy. Image File history File links Gaslight_1944_film. ... George Cukor George Cukor (July 7, 1899 – January 24, 1983) was an American film director. ... Patrick Hamilton (March 17, 1904 - September 23, 1962) was an English playwright and novelist. ... John William Van Druten (1 June 1901–19 December 1957) was an English dramatist, best known for writing light comedies. ... Charles Boyer in Love Affair Charles Boyer (August 28, 1899 – August 26, 1978) was a French actor. ... Ingrid Bergman at 14 â–¶(?) (August 29, 1915 – August 29, 1982) was an Academy Award-winning Swedish actress. ... Joseph Cotten, circa 1956. ... Dame May Whitty (June 19, 1865 - May 29, 1948) was a British theater and cinema actress. ... Angela Lansbury, CBE (born October 16, 1925) is a British-born actress, the granddaughter of British Labour politician George Lansbury. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... MGM logo Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM, is a large media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of cinema and television programs. ... May 4 is the 124th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (125th in leap years). ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... This still from The Big Combo (1955) demonstrates the visual style of film noir at its most extreme. ... George Cukor George Cukor (July 7, 1899 – January 24, 1983) was an American film director. ... Ingrid Bergman at 14 â–¶(?) (August 29, 1915 – August 29, 1982) was an Academy Award-winning Swedish actress. ... Charles Boyer in Love Affair Charles Boyer (August 28, 1899 – August 26, 1978) was a French actor. ... Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ... Angela Lansbury, CBE (born October 16, 1925) is a British-born actress, the granddaughter of British Labour politician George Lansbury. ... Patrick Hamilton (March 17, 1904 - September 23, 1962) was an English playwright and novelist. ... Categories: Stub ...


The makers of this film attempted to have all copies of the 1940 version destroyed, but they were unsuccessful as copies of the older version have survived and critics are divided as to which is actually the better film. 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ...


The term "to gaslight someone" – to make someone think he or she is going insane – derives from the titles and subject matter of these two films. Gaslight is the title of at least two films based on the Patrick Hamilton play Angel Street, in which a man marries a woman and tries to convince her she is crazy so that he can steal the jewels stored in her attic. ...


Plot

The film begins after world-famous opera singer Alice Alquist has been murdered. The murderer apparently bolted before getting what it was that he had come for, something that belonged to Alice Alquist. He had been spooked by the young girl in the house who had surprised him in his dastardly deed. This turns out to be Paula (Ingrid Bergman), Alice's niece, who has been brought up by her aunt after her mother's death. This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Paula is sent to Italy so that she can train to be an opera star. Her training is left in the hands of the same teacher who once trained Alice. She studies with him for years, all the while trying to forget that terrible night at number 9, Thornton Square in London where the murder took place. London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ...


She meets a man, Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), and falls in love with him. She eventually ends her long tutelage under her aunt's old teacher and marries Gregory. He suggests that they go to live in London, and conveniently, Paula owns a house there; her aunt naturally bequeathed number 9, Thornton Square to her. They move in. The house's contents have remained undisturbed for almost a decade, but Paula is naturally reminded of that awful night by all her aunt's old things, especially the great protrait of her over the fireplace. Gregory suggests that they lock all Alice's things away in the loft, and Paula agrees.


Even before the things are locked away, there is a jarring moment in which Paula finds a letter tucked in a music book addressed to her aunt from a man named Sergius Bauer, and dated only two days before the murder. Upon her reading the name, Gregory almost has a fit, most dissonantly banging the keys on the piano that he has been playing. He quickly composes himself, however, and explains his outburst as one of frustration at the bad memories that the house brings back to his wife.


After Alice's things are packed away in the loft, and the door to the loft is blocked, things begin to take a turn for the bizarre. Paula loses a brooch at the Tower of London that Gregory has given her (and Gregory's love of jewels becomes apparent when he goes bug-eyed at the Crown Jewels – which are still kept at the Tower today). Paula cannot imagine how she came to lose it, as it was safely stored in her handbag. Also, other curious things happen. Pictures disappear from the walls of the house, and Gregory begins to insinuate that Paula is doing these odd things, but Paula has no recollection of doing such things. Aquamarine, platinum, and diamond brooch/pendant worn by Mrs. ... The Tower of London, seen from the river, with a view of the water gate called Traitors Gate. ... Jewel can refer to Jewel, American singer. ... Coronation Chair and Regalia of England The collective term Crown Jewels denotes the regalia and vestments worn by the sovereign of the United Kingdom during the coronation ceremony and at various other state functions. ...


Gregory does everything in his power to isolate his young, "mad" wife from other people, neither allowing her to go out, nor letting her have visitors. On the one occasion when he actually does take her out to a musical gathering at a friend's house, he shows Paula his watch chain, from which his watch has mysteriously disappeared. It is found in her handbag. She has a crying fit, and Gregory takes her home.


The young maid does not help the mood at number 9. Whenever she shows up, her face betrays a feeling of disdain, and Paula becomes convinced that Nancy (Angela Lansbury) loathes her. A maidservant or in current usage maid is a female employed in domestic service. ...


Paula begins to "imagine" things. The gaslight in her room dims every evening after Gregory has gone out for his walk, but neither Nancy nor the hard-of-hearing Elizabeth will own up to having turned another gas jet on elsewhere in the house. Also, Paula hears footfalls above her room. No-one will believe that these things are actually happening.


However, they are happening. Gregory is using very cruel and devious methods to convince Paula that she is going mad, so that no-one will believe what she says, or possibly so that he can have her certified insane and get her out of the house. There is a frighteningly palpable reason for his apparently absurd, unkind behaviour. Unknown to Paula, Gregory actually sought her out in Italy, managed to win her heart, married her, and suggested that they live in London, all so that he could get into the house at number 9, Thornton Square. He is in fact Sergius Bauer, the man who wrote the letter in the music book (which Gregory later tries to convince Paula she imagined), and the man who murdered Alice Alquist. He still wants what he was looking for the night he murdered Paula's aunt: her jewels. He has been rummaging through Alice's belongings in the loft to find what he knows is there, but they are evidently well hidden, as it takes him quite a while to find them.


These activities explain the things that Paula has been "imagining", of course: The footfalls are her husband's. Also, the gaslight dims because Gregory – or Sergius – has been turning the gaslight in the loft on. These odd things only seem to happen when her husband goes out for his walk because in fact, he is not going for a walk, but slinking round into the mews to gain entry to his own house through a neighbouring empty house and over a shared roof to a skylight.


Nancy's disdain, it turns out, is for Gregory, not Paula. She can see that something is amiss in the household, but cannot seem to put her finger on what it is, except that her master is at the root of it all.


Paula might actually end up believing that she is utterly mad if not for a chance encounter with a stranger that day at the Tower of London. He turns out to be Inspector Campbell of Scotland Yard (Joseph Cotten) who is intrigued when he believes he has seen someone whom he has thought to be dead, Paula being the very image of her late aunt, and Campbell being an admirer of Alice Alquist since childhood. New Scotland Yard, London New Scotland Yard, often referred to simply as Scotland Yard or The Yard, is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, responsible for policing Greater London (although not the City of London itself). ... A male Caucasian toddler child A child (plural: children) is a young human. ...


By enlisting the support – mostly unwitting – of Nancy and a local busybody (Dame May Whitty), and later also Elizabeth (although this support is witting), Campbell delves into the long-dead Alquist case, and eventually realizes what is going on, and knows that he has found the man who murdered Paula's aunt.


The dramatic conclusion comes as Campbell moves in for the arrest on the very evening when Gregory has at last found the jewels that he has so long been seeking.


The dénouement partly involves Paula indulging herself in a bit of revenge, psychologically torturing Gregory after he has been bound to a chair, tantalizing him with the idea that she will free him so that he can escape arrest, trial, and execution.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Gaslight (1944 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (948 words)
Gaslight is a 1944 film noir adapted from Patrick Hamilton's play Angel Street.
From the film's title, "gaslighting" acquired the meaning of ruthlessly manipulating an individual, for nefarious reasons, into believing something other than the truth.
The makers of this film attempted to have all copies of the 1940 version destroyed, but they were unsuccessful.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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