IMDb Rating 7.4 10 3252


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April 20, 2019 at 07:53 AM


Robert Newton as Ullswater
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by film-critic 9 / 10

Stop titivating yourself, come on.

What a crisp, deeply rooted thriller Thorold Dickinson created. With vile creatures (Paul) and goofy policemen and maids, we are easily captured into the world of the Mallens. Diana Wynyard does a spectacular job as Bella, giving us the right amount of insecurity coupled with fear. She is the true victim of this film and Dickinson does not let us forget that. Wynyard is nearly overshadowed by my favorite character of the film, Paul Mallen, played with so much evil by Anton Walbrook. I have seen several films in my life, and I must say that Walbrook ranks among some of the most sinister villains of them all. He has no super powers, just the ability to manipulate Bella mentally, proving that he is stronger than her. He thrives on Bella's insecurities and makes them into his greatest form of punishment. These two working together really transformed this 40s thriller into something concrete and powerful. It is the dynamic between the two that kept me glued to my seat and continually asking for more.

Coupled with the superb acting is the creativeness of Dickinson and his writer A.R. Rowlinson. Together they set the mood with darkened corners and alleyways with that constantly looming feeling that the events are going to get grittier down the road. This team made Victorian London a spooky place to visit at night. They make Bella the victim throughout this entire film, making even me wonder if she really was slowly going mad. It isn't until the end that the truth is revealed and even then we are left in suspense. It isn't until the credits roll is the film over, and that is hard to accomplish for directors of the thriller genre today. Dickinson proved that he could handle all the elements with the greatest of ease and bring them to the screen in a film that would last the test of time. I am not embarrassed to show this film to friends because I do believe that they would see the value in this production.

Grade: ***** out of *****

Reviewed by blanche-2 8 / 10

Wonderful film version of "Angel Street"

A strong story in the right hands can be made more than once with interesting results - and this is certainly true of the 1940 British film "Gaslight," remade as an extremely popular 1944 film by Hollywood. The stars here are Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard, Frank Pettingel, Robert Newton, and Cathleen Cordell.

In this version, the plot centers on a retired detective (Pettingel) recognizing a Mr. Mallen (Walbrook) as a man named Bauer, rather than a hot young detective recognizing the wife as the relative of a late opera singer who was once kind to him. Mallen has moved into a house with his wife Bella (Wynyard) where a vicious murder had occurred 20 years earlier by a robber searching for the resident's famed rubies. After the murder, he trashes the house searching for the jewels. Rough, the old detective, becomes interested in what Bauer is doing in England under another name, and starts watching the house. Inside, Bella is slowly being driven mad by Mallen, as he accuses her of forgetting things, losing things, finally making her too paranoid to leave the house for long or to go out socially. When she does, he makes sure she breaks down so everyone else knows she's crazy. He openly flirts with the maid (and takes it a lot further in this film) and embarrasses his wife in front of her. His motive in this version for wanting Bella declared insane is different from the Hollywood version, but his departure from the house each evening and the dimming of the gaslight is due to the same goal.

If you're familiar with the Boyer/Bergman "Gaslight," this "Gaslight" feels like it starts in the middle, as there is no backstory in this one, though Mallen remains a pianist. In the '44 film, it was the wife's famous aunt who was murdered and seen by the young niece; she meets her husband to be while she's studying voice and marries him, finally moving into the house where her aunt's murder took place. Nothing like that here. This version comes right to the point - Mallen wants to have his wife committed.

The acting is marvelous. Wynward is a good deal more internalized than Bergman and somehow seems less vulnerable. Where Bergman has a soft look, Wynward's is more defined. It's an excellent performance, but one in which the weight of the film is transferred, as it's supposed to be, over to the character here called Mallen, played by Anton Walbrook - the exact opposite of what Hollywood does with the story. Walbrook is openly cruel and sly - no velvet glove here - and very slimy. A real monster. The maid Nancy is here played by Cathleen Cordell, a very pretty actress. Where Lansbury is a cheap tramp from the beginning, it's harder to see that Nancy is a tramp until a little later in the film. She just seems like a flirt at first. Turns out she's a lot more trampy than Lansbury, as the Mallen character does more than flirt with her. I give the slight edge here to Lansbury, though both performances are interesting - Lansbury's cheap look and Cockney accent contribute a great deal to the atmosphere of the later film. Robert Newton has a small role as Bella's cousin, who is brought in by Rough.

Beautiful to look at, both films are wonderful. I don't consider comparing them "a trap" as one poster states. I find the different handling of the story fascinating, and both results very absorbing. See both if you can.

Reviewed by preppy-3 10 / 10

Just as good--if not better--than the 1944 remake

It's easy to see why MGM locked this away in their vaults when they issued their 1944 remake--it's really great!

An evil crook (Anton Walbrook) slowly tries to drive his wife (Diana Wynyard) mad for some jewels.

This isn't as lush as the remake, but it more than makes up for it in other departments. For one thing--it's shorter by about 30 minutes and there's no romantic interlude at the beginning. This one starts dark and gets darker. Walbrook is frightening as the husband--much better than Charles Boyer in the remake. The scenes where he yells at his wife had me jumping. Wynyard is great as his fragile wife. She doesn't go into hysterics and chew the scenery like Ingrid Bergman did--she plays it calmly and quietly and very very realistically. Her final confrontation with her husband was just great. Also Cathleen Cordell is lots of fun as Nancy, the parlor maid. In the remake she was played by Angela Landsbury (in her film debut). Surprisingly, Cordell is better than Landsbury!

The remake copied this film virtually scene by scene--and suffers somewhat by comparison. It added on the unnecessary romantic subplot with Joseph Cotton. Thankfully, there's nothing like that here. This just grips you from the very beginning and doesn't let go.

Both movies are great but this one is marginally better. Very recommended.

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