Monday, July 2, 2012

169. Gaslight

Directed by George Cukor

Two short posts before I hit the proverbial sack.

I found this movie enormously frustrating.  Don't get me wrong; it is a great flick.  The film centers on Ingrid Bergman as she struggles to hold onto her sanity despite her husband's efforts to make her go postal.  Since the viewer knows what is going on and Bergman is kind of wimp, the entire film is just one long "NOO!".  This doesn't necessarily make it a bad movie, just an infuriating one.  This is actually a credit to the filmmakers because they get you so involved with the characters.

The costumes are particularly beautiful since the film is set in 1885, and I usually don't even notice these things. Ingrid Bergman rocks this picture as does evil Charles Boyer and Joseph "Johnny Everyman" Cotten. Although the plot is not surprising in the least, it is an engaging movie and one that should be watched.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The studio tried to get all prints of the 1940 version of this film destroyed.

Bergman spent time in a mental institution to research for the role.


  1. Amanda, if I may use your blog as a small experiment to see just how many UK readers you may have..
    May I suggest as a sub title for this one 'The Helen Titchener story', an see if anyone knows what the heck I'm talking about ..

    1. Haha I don't know what you are talking about. A British soap opera perhaps?

  2. Well, I think we have already established that it looks like just Dessie and I, and he perhaps doesn't listen to the radio..
    Yes, you are right .. which is deeply embarrassing that I know , and would reference, a soap. But this is a rather special one .. the worlds longest .. since 1951, yes, it's even older than I am .. 15 mins a day on the radio.. Let me introduce you to 'The Archers', allegedly the 'everyday story of country folk' Set in a small farming village in the English midlands, it has been making national news (really) headlines, storms on the internet, large chunks on serious news programmes about the issues raised, and even questions in Parliament. From story lines that rarely rise above who will win the jam making contest.. Poor Helen has been the victim of a coercive bully, very much along the lines of Gaslight. Last month he tormented her so hard and goaded her into stabbing him... I mean, you cannot avoid the thing .. it's everywhere at the moment.

    1. One of my favorite parts of living in London was watching the soap operas. I also enjoyed Come Dine With Me.

    2. Never listened to The Archers other than in passing in the kitchen as a child. Every Brit could hum the theme music though. Tony Hancock is already getting discussed on the Twelve Angry Men page, but I did love The Bowmans, the episode where they spoof The Achers.

    3. He he .. Yes, I know the Hancock 'The Bowmans' episode ..

  3. Again Cotten. How can I not like a movie with Cotten. Never heard of that show, Ray.

  4. Three points:
    - Similar to your infuriation, I also struggle to feel sympathy for characters who are just born victims. Pull yourself together, Ingrid!
    - I liked it at the end when the murderer, after all his many crimes and despicable behaviour, tied to a chair and awaiting the police to take him away to, ultimately, the gallows, begs his poor wife to "Give me one more chance" - ha!
    - Why go to all the effort of tracking the niece down in Switzerland, posing as her music class assistant to then marry her, bring her back to London and elaborately convince her that she was going mad? Given that the plan involved him breaking into his own house via the skylight each night, why not just break into the house when it was empty and abandoned? Wouldn't that have been infinitely simpler?

  5. Agreed on the Cotten love. It is so fun dissecting evil movie plots and marvelling at how unnecessarily complicated they are. I would like for these villains to hire consultants. I totally volunteer. I think I would have caught the Death Star prob.