The DVD release of Gaslight is terrific. The inclusion of both film versions is a great treat because both films are definitely worth seeing; perhaps they even deserve a back to back viewing. The 1944 version is somewhat superior because of the casting, but there are some terrific things, storywise, in the 1940 version that fare better.
The plot is simple yet satisfying: An unstable woman and her husband move back into her childhood home, where a murder had taken place years earlier. She slowly begins losing grip on reality and becomes convinced that her husband is trying to drive her insane. Or is he? It adds up to a diabolical, atmospheric thriller, which won Bergman her first, but not last, Oscar.
By today's standards GASLIGHT may be seen as slow-moving and obvious. But no modern film can match this picture's intricate psychology. Beautifully filmed in a gloomy, atmospheric black-and-white, GASLIGHT exhibits all the classic visual elements of '40s film noir. The attention to detail is more obvious than in many modern films and heightens the suspense. The benighted streets of London are cloaked with fog, and the large, lonely house where most of the action takes place, is filled with shadows and strange noises. The paranoid, claustrophobic world of Paula's confinement is also effectively conveyed. This is the kind of effectively-crafted, well-acted motion picture that rises above its faults to earn its "classic" appellation. It's a must!