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Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight (1944)

One of the most appreciated productions directed by George Cukor, “Gaslight” is the film that brought the first Oscar (out of three) to the legendary actress Ingrid Bergman. She is so delicate and vulnerable in this film, but the twists and turns of the plot make her character become a strong and independent woman, willing to erase the past, live the present and think about the future. Her co-star in this wonderful motion picture is the gifted and mysterious French actor Charles Boyer. He has a despicable role here and is very good at it! He is a criminal who poses as a gentleman who takes care of his mentally insane wife. Of course, everything is only a masquerade, because all that he wants is Paula’s (Ingrid Bergman) treasure, some very precious jewels. This is one of the few films in which the lover is the greatest enemy of the heroine, and I think this is automatically a source of originality of the screenplay, that was written by John van Druten and Walter Reisch. The gaslight is a symbol of fear and danger, and it is also the iconic star of the picture. It induces a state of anxiety and even hysteria to the heroine, who comes to believe that she is really out of her mind. But a dear friend of the family is the one who helps her discover the whole truth and, even if she is shocked when the terrible past of her husband is revealed, she wants to punish and torture him, the same way he tortured her. The scene where Paula is threatening Gregory with a knife, I think, it’s the crucial moment that brought Ingrid Bergman her well-deserved Oscar and a Golden Globe. You will get to see also other two wonderful actors, Joseph Cotten and debutante Angela Lansbury, who was nominated for an Oscar on her very first role, as the scheming maid! The tension in this mystery-thriller is palpable and the heroine’s turmoil until the last moment makes the audience want to help her, to be by her side and to clear the sinister happenings in the old house, that belonged to her aunt. This is a great merit of George Cukor as the skilled director that he’s always been. “Gaslight” earned another Oscar, for Best Art Direction, and it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Writing, Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. I highly recommend you to watch “Gaslight” because you will like it for sure. The direction and the actors’ performances are trully remarkable, and you will certainly feel the superior quality of the good, old Hollywood productions that are so much treasured even nowadays…

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