God I love this film. I first saw it during Summer Under the Stars in 2010 at about 2 in the morning after having watched five other Bergman films that day. I think I must have dosed off during it because a few months later when I fell really hard for Joseph Cotten and was looking at his filmography, I saw he was one of the co-stars and I didn’t remember his character at all! Luckily, at the TCM Film Festival in 2011, I got a second chance to see the film, this time on the gigantic screen at the Chinese Theater. During that day I had seen two other Cotten films on the big screen (Citizen Kane and Niagara), so I was on a bit of a Cotten high. What a great day that was. And what a great film, too! I now own it (thank you very much Warner Archive!) and have watched it several times. I would be lying if I told you the following look at the film is going to go pretty heavy into Jo Cotten’s wardrobe. Also, it will contain spoilers regarding the plot twist. So if you’ve never seen it before, you might want to look away. Gaslight was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning two: Best B&W Art Director (won), Best B&W Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Angela Lansbury, Best Actor Charles Boyer, Best Actress Ingrid Bergman (won) and Best Picture. George Cukor was not nominated for Best Director, however. Actually, this was one of those years where Best Director lined up with three of the nominated films, while two director were nominated without Best Picture nominations (Otto Preminger for Laura and Alfred Hitchcock for Lifeboat). The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Double Indemnity, Since You Went Away, Wilson and winner Going My Way. I should also mention that there is a British version of Gaslight from 1940 that stars Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard, though I have yet to see it.
This is definitely one of my favorite of Hitchcock’s films and one that is rich with imagery and ideas. I am going to give you some of my thoughts on the film, but I am not going to claim to be an expert on this film. It’s definitely one that needs many rewatchings and explorations. I would really love to hear thoughts from my readers on this film solely because it is so rife with ideas. Also, beware there will be a major SPOILER about the ending, so if you’ve never seen it, you might want to not read to the end of this post. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning one: Best Score Miklós Rózsa (won), Best B&W Cinematography, Best Special Effects, Best Supporting Actor Michael Chekov, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated that year were Anchors Aweigh, The Bells of St. Mary’s, Mildred Pierce and winner The Lost Weekend.
Eva: A mother and a daughter–what a terrible combination of feelings and confusion and destruction! Everything is possible and everything is done in the name of love and solicitude. The mother’s injuries are to be handed down to the daughter, the mother’s disappointments are to be paid for by the daughter, the mother’s unhappiness is to be the daughter’s unhappiness. It’s as if the umbilical cord had never been cut. The daughter’s grief is the mother’s secret pleasure.
I actually watched 68 new-to-me movies in August altogether, which I believe is a record for me. 46 of them, however were on Turner Classic Movies’s Summer Under The Stars. There were several days where I watched between four and six films all in a row on TCM. There were even some days where in the midst of watching new-to-me films I watched some old favorites as well. I discovered at least one old film star I’d never known about and now love. I finally watched some essential classic films that had somehow escaped me up until now. I watched a few films that were pretty forgettable and I discovered some films that I will love forever. Overall, it was a wonderful journey of film immersion for someone who loves film down to her bones, and now I don’t know what do to with my life until next August.