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Gaslight

Director:  George Cukor
Year Released:  1944
Rating:  1.5

This came across as a real surprise for me, considering the fact that I think Ingrid Bergman was one of the finest actresses ever, and this movie contains what I feel is her worst performance - or at least the worst I've ever seen from her. She overacts, over-emotes and overplays the whole role - she never comes across as being believable as a 'mentally ill' woman, and her inability to effectively 'sell' the role affects the impact of the whole film. The story is muddled at best: her character marries a foppish gentleman, played by Charles Boyer, then they move into the home she was raised in by her aunt, who was murdered there (mysteriously) years before (?). Then, before you know it, the Boyer character starts trying to drive Ingrid Bergman insane (?) by using some 'clever' (cough, cough) head-games. Plot wise, it's all completely implausible, and very unrealistic: I never bought for an instant that any of the 'crafty head-games' Boyer pulls on her - to try to make her think she's losing her mind - are capable of fooling anyone (they're quite silly ... he moves pictures, tells lies and adjusts the gas running into the lights of the house to make her think she's hallucinating, etc, etc.). It isn't until Joseph Cotton steps three quarters of the way through that things really start getting interesting - Cotton, no matter what he's in, always seems to cut through the bullshit and deliver a fine performance (he should have had a larger role earlier on).

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