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Gaslight (1944) review

Posted : 3 months, 2 weeks ago on 24 August 2019 10:49

Manierism, not just hitchcockian, just formalist wonderful manierism surrounds a simple plot of evil husband goes for vulnerable wife. Ingrid is perfect, as debutante Lansbury.

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Posted : 4 months, 1 week ago on 2 August 2019 09:30

Time to demonstrate my gay card as I speak positively over Gaslight’s two hours of diva in full martyrdom! George Cukor’s gothic melodrama about a naïve young wife being slowly driven insane by her gold-digging husband is a lot of fun. It’s as atmospherically cluttered and inky as a Universal Monsters film and as well-acted as any of his heralded “women’s pictures” from the era. Of course, having actors as great as Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Angela Lansbury in major roles doesn’t hurt, either.


Sure, time has dulled some of the psychological terror that comes with watching Ingrid Bergman’s Victorian wife slowly losing grip on sanity, but there’s still plenty of studio-era visual poetry and lyrical acting gestures on display. The very artifice of a film like Gaslight is its own pleasurable reward. We’re not looking into complex insight here but for a hissable villain, here embodied by a complex Boyer, and a brittle woman on the verge of hysteria with colorful supporting parts, especially Lansbury as a slutty Cockney chambermaid and Dame May Whitty as a nosy neighbor.


There isn’t much in the way of mystery as Boyer’s duplicitous nature is practically spelled out from the get-go, but there is the pleasure of watching the normally stolid Bergman begin to deteriorate mentally and emotionally as up becomes down and nothing is quite what it appears. Gaslight is a tightly wound costume drama with a dash of complex horror and a healthy dose of atmosphere to separate it from the pack. It works as its evenly paced unraveling corresponds with Bergman’s.


If anything, Gaslight’s crumbling martyr is a portrait of the danger women face both inside and outside the home. Bergman’s character sought tranquility and stability in a life that’s been marred by scandal as her aunt was killed in this very house when she was a child, and now she’s trapped in an abusive marriage. If she’s unsafe in her marriage, and by extension for the time period her entire life, then she is unsafe any and everywhere. There’s seemingly no reprieve from the ominous shadows, the flickering lights, or the isolation for this woman. How many others can say the same?    

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Gaslight (1944)

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 21 February 2012 10:04

Cukor never been a director that interests me too. His work seems formally correct but common or garden, without any originality, devoid of life. Do we owe, at least, being a great director of female stars, as has been said over and over again? It is possible, but... how often that he never worked bad actress?. Movie studios surrounded the good old Cukor always the most select group of actors, in the heyday of the Star system.
"Gaslight" is no exception to this. Actors first row as Ingrid Bergman (very young, but always perfect), a Charles Boyer as usual overacting, Joseph Cotten...

As for the story it tells, it is clear that the staging betrays its theatrical base. Almost all of the filming takes place indoors. Although he received an Oscar for best decorated and eventually could be prodigious, today leaves much to be desired, its obvious artificiality in the outlook and painted sections. This technical detail is to synthesize as can be said of its plot development: well presented, nice, but lacking in credibility. Since the beginning of the film's caution, the far-fetched, even absurd intentions of the male, which collapses all attempts to create an atmosphere of suspense. The "office" of Cukor knows maintain, despite all the interest in that account, the narrative follows a course and remains fluid, although abortive thriller to the end.

In my view, "Gaslight" belongs to a series of movies too many academics that have aged very bad and his previous but deserve recognition deciduous a further review.

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