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If I were not mad, I could have helped you. Whatever you had done, I could have pitied and protected you. But because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I'm mad, I'm rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!—Paula Alquist denouncing her husband.
Based on a 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton, Gaslight is a 1944 psychological-thriller directed by George Cukor and staring Ingrid Bergman in her first Oscar-winning performance.
She plays Paula, a young woman who lived with her aunt, a famous opera singer. One day, the aunt is suddenly murdered and robbed by the mysterious Sergius Bauer, leaving Paula alone. After studying abroad for the ten years since the incident, she returns to England with a new husband, Gregory (Charles Boyer). But shortly afterwards, Gregory suddenly starts going out of his way to Mind Rape Paula.
Can Paula find out the reason for her husband's cruelty? Can a sympathetic Scotland Yard officer save the day?
A very-young Angela Lansbury made her film debut as the quirky maid Nancy; the performance won her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
This movie features examples of these tropes:
- Driven to Madness: Gregory pulls no punches in order to convince Paula she's going mad.
- Gaslighting: Trope Maker and Trope Namer.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: As the page quote proudly demonstrates, Paula proudly turns Gregory's scheme to drive her to madness back on him.
- Market-Based Title: Averted; the play and first film adaptation were titled "Angel Street" in the U.S., but this version was released under the original title.
- Manipulative Bastard: Gregory
- Mind Rape
- Terrible Ticking: One of Gregory's tricks on Paula.