Gaslight – 1944 – Ingrid Bergman and Insanity
Gaslight is one of the very few movies I once was recommended to see by my mother. This was back in the eighties I guess and I utterly enjoyed it. Now, many years later I finally got hold of it on DVD. Not that I’ve searched for it very hard, but I have felt the urge to revisit it from time to time. Now I got hold of an Italian edition of it, apparently with another version of the story on a second disc. I didn’t see the alternate version yet, but tonight I revisited the horror of the Gaslight version I saw in my youth. Was it as gruesome as I remembered it? Well, no. It was still very good and tense though. The acting is really top notch and there’s a lot of suspense in there.
The terror doesn’t start right away, it’s weaved in there seamlessly. I guess that is what makes Gaslight so effective. We don’t realize that Ingrid Bergman gets terrorized by her husband until we’re well in the movie. It begins with small things but after a while, bigger and bigger suggestions are made by the husband. To such extent that Ingrid Bergman’s character starts to believe that she really is insane. That must be one of the cruelest ways of torture, to get fooled into believing that you cannot believe your own mind anymore. Of course, we have to keep in mind that this movie was made in 1944 and those modern movies might be even more horrifying. But there are no real special effects, it’s just terrorizing atmosphere built up by great acting.
Somewhere in the background is a story about an unsolved murder. It none other than Ingrid Bergman’s aunt. The murderer was never caught and the motive was never found. At least not officially. There is an unofficial investigation going on though. Someone that never gave up and is hell-bent to find out the truth. That might be a stroke of luck for the leading lady. She really needs a friend as the plot thickens.
No, it’s not as good as I remembered it. But it’s still a very strong movie and it rendered Ingrid Bergman an Oscar for best actress in a leading role. Very well deserved if you ask me.