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 Guide.com

Gaslight at the American Film Institute (AFI)

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

3 thoughts on “Film Notes: Gaslight (1944) directed by George Cukor

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