Friday, December 9, 2022

Movie Review of Gaslight (1944) Starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman & Joseph Cotten

Gaslight Movie Review

The term "Gaslight" has become commonly used to describe a form of deceptive and cruel mental manipulation. A vunerable victim won't recognize what the other person is doing to them as they challenge their memory. It is not as simple as having a different perception of an event, or even a different opinion. It is a much more sinister, intentional manipulation of someone's memory or perception causing them to question their own sanity.

I'm not sure if I ever actually watched the movie "Gaslight" in the past, or if I am simply familiar with the movie plot from trailers.  Some of my favorite movies are classics (pre-1950).  When I was much younger, I often stayed up late watching old movies on the original AMC movie channel. I may well have seen the movie back then.

My husband & I recently decided to watch the 1944 version of the movie Gaslight, starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman & Joseph Cotten.  I was reminded of how much I loved the old classics where actors really had to carry the entire movie.  There were no special effects or colorful scenes to help captivate an audience.  It was all up to the writers and actors to entertain us.

I had not realized how much I missed the classics, or that fabulous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo lion, until we watched "Gaslight".  We cut the cable cord nearly a decade ago and I no longer pull out our old vhs tapes to watch movies.  

Wow!  It has been so long that it is like rediscovering cinematic brilliance.  I plan to go in search of a new way to watch those old classics again.  If there is no channel available, I'll dust off my old vhs tapes and hope my player still works, but for now, I want to tell you about the movie "Gaslight".


Gaslight (1944)

 Gaslight
Available on Prime Video, DVD, Blu-ray, or VHS
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When the renowned singer, Alice Alquist is murdered, her niece and ward, Paula (Ingrid Bergman) is sent to live in Italy with her aunt's best friend, Maestro Guardi who spends years training her to sing professionally.  When Paula confides in Signore Guardi that she has fallen in love, he encourages her to embrace happiness, even take a break from her singing for a while.  He has no way of knowing that he is throwing her into the arms of an insidious predator with ulterior motives.

Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) is lying in wait for her to come to him after she speaks to the maestro. He is thrilled to find that everything is going as he wishes and he pressures Paula to marry him even though she hasn't known him for very long.

After Gregory & Paula are married, he masterfully manipulates her into moving back to London, and back into her aunt's home.  That is when he fully commits himself to "gaslighting" her and she is very nearly convinced that she is insane until Joseph Cotten appears on the scene.

Now, you must watch the movie yourself to see what happens!


Interesting Facts About Gaslight

  • Ingrid Bergman was actually singing in this movie
  • Ingrid Bergman won the Academy Award Best Actress for this film
  • Charles Boyer did not play the piano, but he did study psychology before he became an actor. 
  • It is also worth mentioning that 17 year old, Angela Lansbury, was also in this movie.

To "gaslight" someone was not a psychological term prior to 2010.  The title of the movie actually refers to the gas lights in a home that would dim when additional lights were lit and demanded a share of the gas supply.  One of the things that made Paula think she was going insane was that the gas lights would dim even when no one else was home lighting more lights.   

The movie "Gaslight" provides an excellent example of the act of gaslighting someone.  After all, the movie/play is the origin of the term.




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Movie Review of Gaslight (1944) Starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman & Joseph Cotten by:
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6 comments:

  1. I have not seen this movie yet, but I will certainly be looking for a way to watch it. I do know a good friend who has been the victim of gaslighting and it really is not funny in any way. I also did not know about the dimming of gas lights when demand was increased in other areas of the home. So, thank you Sylvestermouse Cynthia for giving me a new "old" movie to watch and learning something new for today!

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  2. I, too, am a fan of movies from long ago. I used to stay up late watching with my mother - who was also a fan. In particular, all Alfred Hitchcock movies and any musicals with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I HAVE seen Gaslight, albeit a very long time ago. Fun to be reminded of it here in your review. Thanks, Sylvestermouse.

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  3. Like you, I really can't remember if I have seen this movie. Based on your review, now I know I will have to find it and watch it. There is something special about the so many classics out there. Thanks, Cynthia

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  4. Like you, I am a huge fan of old MGM movies and much prefer them to most contemporary films. Also like you, I can’t remember whether I actually watched Gaslight or just saw the trailers, but it’s a classic for a reason. They sure don’t make actors (or movies) like they used to!

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  5. I love old movies as well. Brings back a lot of good memories of mom and I watching movies together when I was young. I don't think I've seen the movie Gaslight, although I did hear about it of course. Understanding what gaslighting is now has me acutely aware when someone is trying to do this to me. Sometimes it is subtle small things too, and I call it out every time - I've been heard saying, "don't gaslight me" lol

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  6. This is a movie I have not yet seen but it sounds a very interesting storyline. I like old movies. I love the fact that it was filmed before special effects and the mood and suspense is created by the writers skill and actors talent.Thank you for your review and recommendation.

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