Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotton, Angela Lansbury.
Director: George Cukor
Tense and well paced psychological thriller about the orphaned niece of a famous singer who marries a man after only knowing him for two weeks, and finds herself slowly going mad in the house that her aunt was murdered in. But is she really mad? Or is the whole household conspiring to make her think that she’s crazy?
Ingrid Bergman plays the niece, Paula, who undergoes all the tragedy and torment, in a performance so nuanced and thoughtful that she won an Oscar for it. Her husband, Gregory (Boyer) is suave and manipulative, and foiled by a local member of Scotland Yard (Cotton) who suspects something isn’t right and becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. The whole takes place in a Victorian setting, with the lavish costumes and set that lift the film into being quite a lavish production.
It’s a must see film because: the film is so masterfully done that the title became a term for the way in which someone can be manipulated and controlled by being made to doubt themselves and their own senses, thereby becoming more dependant on the manipulator. And it really cleverly illustrates the way in which such psychological warfare, gaslighting, works and why it is so effective.
See It If: You’ve ever had one of those charming dates that seem a little too good to be true…