A Well-Crafted, Well-Acted Thriller
This American-made version of the English thriller "Gaslight" is
well-crafted and well-acted, with many moments of good suspense and
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
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..
Proves that Hitchcock wasn't the only master of suspense
I was just reaching an age at which I could appreciate suspense
thrillers when this came out. And even as an 11 year old Iwas
captivated by this.
Seeing it now, I marvel most of all at Ingrid Bergman's performance,
especially as she honestly begins to doubt her sanity. Charles Boyer is
no slouch either in his chillingly villainous role, his suave demeanor
contrasting with his villainy. And then there's Angela Lansbury who was
a real cutie at 17. She's a very believable little coquette.
The atmosphere and leisurely pace of the movie heightens the suspense
and lifts this above the earlier British version although I do
recommend seeing both..