Love and Fear Filled the House on Angel Street!
Twenty years after the murder of Alice Barlow, her house is finally occupied again. However, the husband of the couple who have moved in has a secret which he will do anything to keep hidden.
"A man with a sinister secret tries to convince his wife that she is mad; a dreadful fate in Victorian England that meant that she would be sent to a lunatic asylum. Anton Walbrook plays a wonderful villain, a man who would do anything in pursuit of his secret."
When held up next to George Cukor's remake it is plain to see that this is a sterling example of a film being remade for the better but this original attempt at the story is still pretty entertaining. There are moments of genuine suspense and at 83 minutes it never overstays its welcome but if you're to only watch one version of 'Gaslight' make it the 1944 version.
[Compare to 1944 version] It’s a little strange they remade this movie only four years later. The remake has a lot of the same scenes. Admittedly the remake was better in almost every way. This version tried to play up that the wife was crazy in the beginning. It also didn’t have the mystery reveal done nearly as well at the end. The one thing I did like was when Diana Wynyard confronted him at the end and played the role a little evil and mean in her revenge.
This movie feels like a Hitchcock film and it has been hyped as this great film, but I didn't love it like I thought that it would be. the plot is quite simple with a woman murdered 20 years ago and it was never solved and 20 years latter another person movies into the house and instead of it being a ghost like story, it is a mystery in why is the husband trying to convince wife that she is going crazy.
This film really wasn't very well edited, there were a lot of abrupt cuts and pointless shots (and even a couple of random, pointless scenes that really should have been cut).
But despite that and some weak acting from the supporting cast (though I loved the detective), it's still a very tense, well written, and fairly creepy thriller.
The more interesting of the two Gaslight picture made within four years of each other.
MGM famously tried to destroy this film's negatives so it wouldn't compete with its own 1944 remake starring Charles Boyer and Angela Lansbury. Good thing they didn't, because we wouldn't have the great fortunate of watching the darker side of Anton Walbrook. His villainy may be a little over-the-top, but he does it with such conviction, commitment, and stature that I bought it 100%. If that isn't a testament to how great of an actor he was, I don't know what is.