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Argghh! Smells Like Gas (Light),
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This review is from: Gaslight  [DVD] (DVD)
Driving my partner slowly insane is not something that I do on purpose, but is happening anyway. If I was looking for a guide on how to purposely pitch her off her trolley then `Gaslight' may be the key. A 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, who pay the newly married couple of Paula and Gregory. Paula moved to Italy as a youngster after her Aunt was murdered in London, Gregory wants to move back to London to live in the house left in Auntie's will. Is the suave Gregory everything he claims to be? Or is there an ulterior motive for wanting to gain access to the house?
Acting in the 1940s was a staid affair, before the likes of Brando and Dean entered the scene to add overacting and sweaty foreheads. Therefore, the fact that Bergman won an Oscar for her role as Paula may be surprising to some, but when compared to many of the emotionally light performances of the time she paints a woman going slowly insane well. Boyer as the mysterious Gregory is weaker; coming across as a pantomime villain rather than the evil genius he would need to be to pull off his plan. Plaudits should also go to Joseph Cotten's role as the police officer who suspects that not all is right in the relationship.
With Bergman's central performance playing a key role, director George Cukor is able to pace the film well. The initial quarter suggests the film will be a pleasant costume drama, only for the mood to darken as the film progresses. As the plot thickens Bergman makes the film more claustrophobic, a house that was once homely becomes menacing. By the end you realise the film has become a complex thriller that has gone on to influence films up to the present day.
In terms of extras the trailer for the film is included, which contains plot spoilers. The featurette on the film is an interesting one as it explores the relationship between the cast and crew.