Movie Information

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Gaslight at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.
Genre: Mystery
Director: George Cukor
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, Dame May Whitty, Angela Lansbury
Rated: NR

Gaslight (1944) is another of those intriguing examples of the mammoth that was MGM buying up the rights to an earlier film, remaking it and the doing their damndest to make sure no comparison could be made to their version. After all, any film from MGM just had to be the last word on any subject. This round, the studio is supposed to have gone to the extra trouble of trying to have the original negative and every print of the 1940 British version destroyed. (They did not succeed.) Frankly, the earlier film is more exciting. But it might be said that what the MGM version lacks as a mystery thriller, it makes up for in star power and production design. The plot is essentially the same: A fortune-seeking, almost-certainly murderous husband (Charles Boyer) is trying to make his wife (Ingrid Bergman) think she’s losing her mind so that he can convince her that the gaslight lowering and the sounds coming from the floor above are all in her imagination. It’s rather rare nowadays to see any version of the play on which both films are based, because it seems to have drifted into obscurity—though not long ago it was a staple of rep and community theaters. (I was surprised when the question, “Do you think she’s trying to Gaslight you?” arose in The Darjeeling Limited (2007), and I found almost no one who understand the line.) There’s nothing really wrong with this version—it’s glossy, slick, involving, well cast—but it’s just a little tepid in the thrill department.


About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.