Gaslight (1944)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotton, Angela Lansbury
Extras: Featurette, Newsreel, Trailer

Warner’s DVD treatment of the 1944 version of ’Gaslight’ actually features another gem that’s easy to overlook – the 1940 British version of ’Gaslight’ as well, which makes an exciting release even more desirable.

’Gaslight’ tells the story of a young woman, Paula (Ingrid Bergman), trying to shake off the trauma of the murdering of the aunt, a famous opera singer. One day she meets Gregory (Charles Boyer) and agrees to marry him. While at first everything seems fine, soon her husband becomes increasingly obsessive, possessive and dominant. Mysterious events occur and Paula begins to fear that she is losing her mind, or is she?

Wonderfully produced by George Cukor, this film is a stellar example of suspenseful thrillers of old. It has a wonderful dark side, spooky atmosphere and characters that often get to you through something as subtle as a glimmer in their eyes.

The transfer of the film is in fairly good shape. Though some scratches and blemishes are evident, the presentation is generally clean and free of notable mars. Contrast is very good, rendering an image with deep blacks and good highlights and a good gradient fall-off. The compression has been handled very well, ensuring that the presentation is free of compression artifacts. The 1940 version of the film is of equal quality, with only minor speckles and scratches.

The audio on the disc is free of hiss or background noise. Given its age it is hardly surprising that the limited frequency response makes audio come through a bit harsh, but the track seems to have been cleaned up in order to remove crackles and pops altogether. The audio is dynamic enough and clear for its age and shows no distracting distortion.

As extras on this release you will find the 15-minute featurette ’Reflections on Gaslight’ in which actress Angela Lansbury talks about the movie as a whole, and of her character in particular, of course. She is full of nice anecdotes about the production, making this featurette a great piece.

Also included is a newsreel from the 1944 Academy Awards in which Ingrid Bergman received an Oscar for her performance in ’Gaslight.’ The DVD is rounded out by the movie’s theatrical trailer.

’Gaslight’ is a wonderful classic film full of atmosphere, intrigue and suspense. Warner’s version on DVD is nicely paying tribute to this film with its presentation, the extras and the inclusion of the original 1940 version. Fans of classic movies, make sure to add this one to your collection!