Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

GASLIGHT (1944)

George Cukor’s reputation as an actor’s director of tasteful literary adaptions downplays the strong visual flair he kept in reserve. In this grand psychological thriller, the one about the young wife whose husband is trying to drive her mad (‘gaslight’ her), the main set is a posh London row house with a narrow design that forces many scenes to move from floor to floor. Cukor brings fluid staging, unusual camera angles, elaborate tracking shots & long takes to the challenge. Perhaps they aren’t noticed because they always serve the story rather then call attention to themself. Joseph Ruttenberg’s lensing is masterfully lit (and shadowed), and Cukor even manages some believable street atmosphere, avoiding the flat, studio-bound Londontown look typical at M-G-M. (The Italian-set prologue shows the usual lack of care.) Ingrid Bergman actually deserved her Oscar as the blushing bride who naturally grows only more gorgeous as hysteria & illness overtake her. (Getting more beautiful as she got sicker & sicker was a Bergman specialty. See NOTORIOUS/’46 and ARCH OF TRIUMPH/’48.) As the obsessed, sadistic husband, Charles Boyer seems a bit OTT, but he’s got an acting strategy as well. When your audience is already ahead of the plot, why try to hide your character arc? It’s a clever move, and it works. Poor Joseph Cotton has no such option; his nice-guy role sucks. But 17 yr-old Angela Lansbury is hilariously assured as the cheeky parlour maid. What a knock-out debut. M-G-M’s suppression of the earlier British version (ANGEL STREET/’40) has made that film a Cinderella pick for many critics. But that’s no reason to denigrate Hollywood’s deluxe version.

CONTEST: Oddly, the most famous/suspenseful moment in the original play doesn’t appear in either film version. It involved a certain article of clothing. Name the item and who it belongs to to win our usual prize, a MAKSQUIBS Write-Up of your choice.

No comments: