The 1940 British production of Gaslight was the first of two cinematic adaptations of Patrick Hamilton's play. Oozing faux continental charm, Anton Walbrook inveigles his way into the confidence of the young mistress (Diana Wynyard) of a large Victorian mansion. Walbrook is searching for the rubies that he'd stolen from the previous owner of the house -- whom he'd also murdered. Suspecting that Wynyard is about to catch on to his secret, Walbrook enlists the aid of a sluttish maidservant to drive his loving bride crazy. The ploy almost works, but Wynyard is rescued by an unexpected ally. Gaslight was released in the U.S. as Murder in Thornton Square, then withdrawn entirely on the occasion of MGM's expensive 1944 remake of Gaslight, which starred Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. To avoid confusion, MGM allegedly ordered that all prints of the original Gaslight be destroyed. Evidently that order was not honored to the letter, since the 1940 Gaslight is still safely available for both theatrical and TV exhibition. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
as Paul Mallen
as Bella Mallen
as B.G. Rough
as Vincent Ullswater
as Lady Winterbourne
as Alice Barlow
as House Agent
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Critic Reviews for Gaslight
The first, British version of Patrick Hamilton's popular play, is extremely well acted by Diana Wynyard and Anton Walbrook, but Cukor's MGM version, with Osar-winning Ingrid Bergman, is superior.
So much goes right in this film version, all without sparking a corresponding bump in my enthusiasm, that it's all the more obvious that I find some foundations of this text perennially problematic.
The husband is played by Anton Walbrook, who is far more sinister and emotionless than Charles Boyer would be in the later version.
Audience Reviews for Gaslight
A townhouse in 19th Century London with a past: there was a woman murdered there years ago and the murderer never caught. The new couple there should be happy, but the young wife ... troubled. Hears things, sees things, its too bad really. With women as the target audience there's still enough in this strange, brooding gothic tale to please everyone, and was good enough to be remade by Hollywood a scant 4 years later. All the meat's still here in the original, more direct version.More
Not bad version of classic story but missing the mystique and chemistry of the Ingrid Bergman/Charles Boyer take of the same story. Part of the problem is that Walbrook is too obviously cruel and twisted right from the start instead of the more subtle approach taken by Boyer. Also while Diana Wynyrd was a fine actress she did not have the star charisma of Bergman which pulled you into the heroine's dilemma.More
MGM famously tried to destroy this film's negatives so it wouldn't compete with its own 1944 remake starring Charles Boyer and Angela Lansbury. Good thing they didn't, because we wouldn't have the great fortunate of watching the darker side of Anton Walbrook. His villainy may be a little over-the-top, but he does it with such conviction, commitment, and stature that I bought it 100%. If that isn't a testament to how great of an actor he was, I don't know what is.More
Nothing special. Fucking Netflix sent this version to me instead of the Ingrid Bergman version. It makes for a marginally compelling tale of deception and murder, but Bella's husband is so over-the-top evil that they should have made his mustache a little longer so he could twist it. Bella herself is mostly ineffectual and whiny, and though you obviously feel sorry for her as she's trapped in this perverse psychological game, she doesn't really offer any interesting insight into her predicament or mental state. She's just a crazy lady with a controlling husband living in a house where an old lady died. It's basically a Victorian Gothic paint-by-numbers.More
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