Directed by: George Cukor
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten
Gaslighting is a tactic use for manipulating a person’s mental capacity, making someone’s sanity questionable, this movie was a perfect example of gaslighting, cunning husband tried to manipulate his wife’s sanity by making her believe of things which have never existed or made her believe otherwise or events that he said she did without any recollection of anything, and during night-time when her husband was out she always notices gaslights in the house flickers and goes dim, following the sound of footsteps and moving objects in the attic, but he said these are all just her imagination.
Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman) met a man named Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) in Italy where she resides ever since she left London, Paula was the niece of a famous Opera Singer named Alicia Alquist who was then her adoptive parent, Paula left London when her aunt Alicia was murdered, crime remains unsolved and cold for the motive of the killing was also unknown. Few years after Paula fell in-love with Gregory and eventually both got married, moved back to London and live in the old house where her aunt was murdered where he confines her telling her visitors she’s been ill.
One of the best Black and White Film I’ve watched from Ingrid Bergman it has strong and flawless acting of paranoia, fear of own insanity, and delusion, the nature of acting was undeniably great that she won her first Oscar for Best Actress defeating Barbara Stanwyck in “Double Indemnity” by Billy Wilder.
The film’s darkness was executed beautifully for 1 hr and 55 mins. duration with the combination of its gloominess, dark corners, strange noises in a large creepy house where the murder was committed, and two obvious villains conspiring sinisterly, Nancy the newly hired maid (Angela Lansbury) was conniving and very much willing accomplice to Gregory has added so much anxiety to our vulnerable, clueless heroine Paula Alquist making her even more weak mentally, these are the ingredients in making someone completely lose their mind.
Although the film has stretched too long because of too much investments in establishing the plot of gaslighting in the subtlest way possible 40’s black and white movies have an atmosphere of classiness plus creepiness that gives more tightness to its narrative, it was masterfully done acting was convincingly brilliant, and it doesn’t fail to impress me how a psychological thriller film can be elegantly executed without a single drop of blood.