Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Movie review: Gaslight

Years after the murder of her aunt in her home, Paula and her new husband move back into the same house. But Gregory, her new husband, has a secret to protect. Even if it means driving his new wife insane.

Charles Boyer (Gregory), Ingrid Bergman (Paula), Joseph Cotton (Brian), Dame May Whitty (Miss Thwaites), Angela Lansbury (Nancy), Barbara Everest (Elizabeth), Heather Thatcher (Lady Dalroy), Lawrence Grossmith (Lord Dalroy).

Gaslight begins with some mild backstory and character introduction before moving to the main plot. Moving back to the house in which her aunt died, Paula struggles emotionally which Gregory sees as an opportunity to help hide a secret he has been keeping. The rest of the film is a nice mix of misdirection and subtle hints that cast Gregory in a highly suspicious light.

I heard about this film as the origination of the term Gaslighting, and as a good explanation of the term. While the film may explain the original meaning, it doesn't seem to fit well with the currently used definition which seems much more common and less criminal.

Acting was enjoyable with Bergman delivering wonderfully. Boyer also did well with good delivery and emotion. Cotton and Whitty were fun in supporting roles they handled nicely. Lansbury, much younger here, fit her role well and was solid, as was the remainder of the cast.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were good with most of the film taking place inside a single house. Made in 1944, this is a black and white that is showing some age. While colors and effects may be missing, the film is well done and easy to watch with good technical work. Dialogue was enjoyable though a bit more explanation about Gregory's secret and other events would have been nice. Sound and soundtrack were good.

Overall Gaslight is a very enjoyable Classic Thriller. Fans of classics, black and white films, and the slow-build thrillers of the 40's should enjoy this one.

Nothing here to limit audience age. Preens and above should be fine with this one.

Released: 1944
Reviewed: 8.22.16
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Classic thrillers, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Crime Thriller

copyright ©2016 Dave Riedel

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