"GASLIGHT" is a classic psychological thriller film released in 1944. The film was directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotten. It tells the story of a woman who is slowly driven insane by her manipulative and controlling husband.
The movie opens in Victorian-era London where a young girl, Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman), is being comforted by her aunt after witnessing the brutal murder of her famous opera singer mother. Years later, Paula has grown up to become a talented singer herself and is studying voice in Italy when she meets Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), a suave and charming man who quickly charms her and proposes marriage.
After they return to London and move into her childhood home, strange things begin to happen. The gaslights flicker and dim, the painting of her mother mysteriously disappears, and items seem to move on their own. Gregory claims that Paula is forgetful and paranoid and tries to convince her that she is going insane, leading her to question her own sanity.
Paula's only ally is the handsome and sympathetic Inspector Brian Cameron (Joseph Cotten), who is investigating the murder of her mother and begins to suspect Gregory's involvement. As the tension builds, Paula becomes more and more unstable, and Gregory's true intentions are revealed.
In the following 5000-word description, we will go through each scene of the movie, unraveling the plot, and exploring the characters' motivations and actions.
Scene 1: Paula witnesses her mother's murder
The film begins with a young Paula (played by Angela Lansbury) and her mother, the famous opera singer Alice Alquist, returning home from a performance. As Alice begins to play the piano, she hears a noise upstairs and sends Paula to investigate.
While Paula is upstairs, she hears a scream and returns to find her mother dead, strangled by an unknown assailant. This traumatic event sets the stage for the rest of the film and establishes Paula's fragile mental state.
Scene 2: Paula meets Gregory in Italy
Several years later, Paula is studying voice in Italy and meets Gregory Anton, a charming and suave man who quickly becomes infatuated with her. Gregory tells her that he is an architect and asks her to marry him, which she eventually accepts.
Scene 3: Paula and Gregory return to London
Paula and Gregory return to London and move into her childhood home, which has been vacant since her mother's murder. As they settle in, strange things begin to happen - the gaslights flicker and dim, items move on their own, and the painting of her mother disappears. Gregory insists that Paula is forgetful and paranoid and tries to convince her that she is going insane.
Scene 4: Paula's first meeting with Inspector Cameron
Paula meets Inspector Brian Cameron, who is investigating her mother's murder. Cameron is immediately struck by Paula's beauty and sensitivity and becomes determined to help her in any way he can.
Scene 5: Gregory's controlling behavior
Gregory becomes increasingly controlling and manipulative, cutting Paula off from her friends and acquaintances and convincing her that she is forgetful and paranoid. He is cold and distant to her in public, while being kind and supportive in private.
Scene 6: The first confrontation between Paula and Gregory
After a dinner party, Paula confronts Gregory about his behavior and his treatment of her. He becomes angry and tells her that she is the one who is insane, not him.
Scene 7: Paula begins to question her sanity
As the strange occurrences in the house continue, Paula begins to question her own sanity. She becomes increasingly paranoid and withdrawn, convinced that she is losing her mind.