A frightened Ingrid....
Cukor's GASLIGHT is a classic of the Gothic melodrama genre, which hit
it's apex in the early-to-mid forties, starting with Hitchcock's
REBECCA. Bergman won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in GASLIGHT, and
she is indeed convincing as a wife terrified she is losing her sanity,
in the face of the tricks of her cunning and opportune jewel-thief
husband Charles Boyer (remarkably sinister yet attractive).
It's an engrossing work for the most part, with great performances by
the two leads. Joseph Cotten plays the romantic rescuer of Bergman, and
even if it is only a one-note role, he is still pleasing. We also get
great supporting work from the likes of the inimitable Dame May Witty
and saucy servant Angela Lansbury (they add a touch of English that
would have been missing otherwise in this story set in the Londin fog).
I did feel, however, that the film dragged in a few places and the
ending was just a little too cute. Nevertheless, the atmosphere Cukor
creates is very convincing, and the cinematography is appropriately
shadowy and dark. The house, presumably created on the studio lot
specially for the film, is a marvelous set, conveying the wealth yet
emotional emptiness of Bergman's life, and meticulously decorated so it
appears as a true evocation of the Victorian era..
A bit too obvious but a well executed George Cukor thriller nevertheless.
This is rather an actual predictable and obvious thriller, that
nevertheless remains a great one to watch due to its skillful
George Cukor isn't exactly a director who is known for his thrillers.
The world knows him best as the director of comedies and drama's, as
well as some well known musicals. This movie is one of the rare
thrillers he made during his career. While watching this movie you have
to say that it's a shame that he never directed any more thriller's
throughout his career. He had the right touch for it and knew how to
handle and build up its story, despite the fact that the story of this
movie is being all too obvious.
Basically you can already figure out the plot and 'suprises' as soon as
the movie is only a couple of minutes long. You know what is wrong with
the movie and its characters and were it's all heading to. It's just
all a bit too obvious and therefor the movie never really works out as
surprising, though it still handles all of its ingredients, such as its
build up and tension, well.
It's simply a nicely crafted movie that is being told nicely. It makes
"Gaslight" one of those real classy and effective '40's thrillers, that
were quite popular at the time, not in the least thanks to Alfred
Hitchock contributions to the genre during that period. Perhaps it's no
coincidence that Cukor and Hitchcock later became friends.
I was also really impressed by the movie its acting. Each and every
actor gave away some stunning performances and Ingrid Bergman even
ended up winning an Oscar for her role in this movie. It wouldn't be
her last. It was also great to see the still alive Angela Lansbury
making her movie debut in this movie. It's quite a big and important
role and she is quite recognizable as Angela Lansbury, despite the fact
that she was only a teenagers at the time of production.
Simply a great '40's thriller, despite all of its obvious aspects.