Gaslight

Gaslight

Director: Thorold Dickinson, Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard, Frank Pettingell

Cast: Thorold Dickinson, Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard, Frank Pettingell

     
 
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

Overview

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 Gaslight was released in the U.S. as Murder in Thornton Square, then withdrawn entirely on the occasion of MGM's expensive 1944 remake of Gaslight, which starred Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman.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.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Thorold Dickinson's Gaslight was one of the most acclaimed thrillers of the 1930's, as finely scripted, acted, and directed as any mystery-drama of its era, and exquisitely nuanced. The movie and its basic plot were good enough to attract the attention of MGM, which not only bought the rights for their 1944 remake with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, directed by George Cukor, but suppressed the original. [indeed, for many years Dickinson's movie wasn't even officially in existence, all known prints and negatives reportedly having been destroyed by MGM. After 1940, it was known to have been screened once in the early 1950's in New York City, and then wasn't heard from again until after Ted Turner took over the studio's library and began a comprehensive vault search.] The movie must, inevitably, be compared with the Cukor's remake, and Dickinson's version stands up well -- it isn't as handsome or opulent, but it is as finely nuanced as Cukor's is overblown and over-produced. Diana Wynyard is a convincing picture of vulnerability as the nefarious plan by her murder-minded spouse Anton Walbrook proceeds, by turns panicked and doubting. The supporting players, from Frank Pettingill on down, are also a study in minimalism, their work seemingly motivated (correctly) by the notion of less being more. Dickinson doesn't waste time telling his story, but he allows his actors the intimate focus that allows their work -- rather than the sets and costumes -- to fill the screen and the viewer's attention. This is precisely the sort of drama that Alfred Hitchcock sought to create (with less success) in Under Capricorn, and to some extent also anticipates his Rebecca, done a year after Gaslight. The movie was also distributed for a time before its 50-year disappearance under the titles Angel Street and Murder In Thornton Square.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/15/2015
UPC:
0644827132126
Original Release:
1940
Source:
Nostalgia Family
Sales rank:
9,270

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anton Walbrook Paul Mallen
Diana Wynyard Bella Mallen
Frank Pettingell Rough
Cathleen Cordell Nancy
Robert Newton Vincent Ullswater
Jimmy Hanley Cobb
Minnie Rayner Elizabeth
Mary Hinton Lady Winterbourne
Marie Wright Alice Barlow
Jack Barty Chairman of Music Hall
Darrnora Ballet Actor
Aubrey Dexter House Agent

Technical Credits
Thorold Dickinson Director
Richard Addinsell Score Composer
Bridget Boland Screenwriter
Sidney Cole Editor
John Corfield Producer
Cyril Knowles Camera Operator
Bernard Knowles Cinematographer
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
George Pollock Asst. Director
A.R. Rawlinson Screenwriter
Richard Vernon Associate Producer

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