Film Notes: Gaslight (1944) directed by George Cukor

US / 114 min / b&w / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Dir: George Cukor Pro: Arthur Hornblow Jr.Scr: John Van Druten, Walter Reisch, John L. Balderston, based on a play by Patrick Hamilton Cine: Joseph Ruttenberg Mus: Bronislaw Kaper Cast: Charles Boyer (Gregory Anton), Ingrid Bergman (Paula Alquist Anton), Joseph Cotten (Brian Cameron), Dame May Whitty (Miss Bessie Thwaites), Angela Lansbury (Nancy Oliver), Barbara Everest (Elizabeth Tompkins), Emil Rameau (Maestro Guardi), Edmund Breon (General Huddleston), Halliwell Hobbes (Mr. Mufflin), Tom Stevenson (PC Williams), Heather Thatcher (Lady Mildred Dalroy), Lawrence Grossmith (Lord Freddie Dalroy) Plot Summary: Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane. Release Date: 4 May 1944 (USA), 6 February 1947 (Spain) Spanish title: Luz que agoniza IMDb Rating: 7.9

The 1944 version was the second version to be filmed, following the British film Gaslight, directed by Thorold Dickinson and released in 1940. This 1944 version was directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her screen debut. Gaslight had a larger scale and budget than the earlier film, and lends a different feel to the material. To avoid confusion with the first film, this version was originally given the title The Murder in Thornton Square in the UK. At the 1945 Academy Awards, the film was nominated for seven Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actress for Ingrid Bergman, Best Actor for Charles Boyer, Best Supporting Actress for Angela Lansbury, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction (black and white) (Cedric Gibbons, William Ferrari, Edwin B. Willis, Paul Huldschinsky), and Best Cinematography (black and white), winning for actress and art direction. (Source: Wikipedia)

1944 saw the making of some of the most important films that helped to shape what would later came to be known as film noir. Among these films one can mention Double Indemnity (1944), Laura (1944), The Mask of Dimitrios (1944) and The Woman in the Window (1944), which I believe have been already mentioned in this blog. Therefore I’m going to choose, on this occasion, Gaslight (1944) directed by Georges Cukor, to participate on Rich Westwood’s meme, Crimes of the Century, at his blog Past Offences. This month the year under consideration is #1944. A film that enjoyed great recognition at its time, but has been unjustly forgotten nowadays.  Besides it is always a pleasure to watch Ingrid Bergman.

See Gaslight review at Le Film

Gaslight at the American Film Institute (AFI)

Film critic Emanuel Levy discussed the noir aspects of the film here

Happy 4th Of July To All My American Friends

In my imagination, I cannot think of a more American song

An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw
A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw

Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel
Their horns were black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel
A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky
For he saw the Riders coming hard and he heard their mournful cry

Yippie yi yaaaaay
Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Ghost Riders in the sky

As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Devil’s herd, across these endless skies

Yippie yi yaaaaay
Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Ghost Riders in the sky

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat
He’s riding hard to catch that herd, but he ain’t caught ’em yet
‘Cause they’ve got to ride forever on that range up in the sky
On horses snorting fire, as they ride on hear their cry

Yippie yi yaaaaay
Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Ghost Riders in the sky
Ghost Riders in the sky

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