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GASLIGHT: Blu-ray (MGM, 1944) Warner Archive

Few movies enter the public consciousness as enduring fond memories; fewer still, as works of art. But how many are lucky enough to become a part of the common vernacular? To ‘gaslight’ someone is to systematically drive them to the brink of mental collapse; an insidious means of twisting the truth to suggestively force the victim to question his/her most basic perceptions and, in the final stages, their very sanity.  If not for Patrick Hamilton’s London play, Gas Light (known as Angel Street in the U.S.), and the subsequent 1940 British film, Gaslight, directed by Thorold Dickinson, made a scant two years after the play’s debut, with only 3½ years separating it from George Cukor’s exquisite reinvention for MGM in 1944, we might never have known this term. Cukor’s remake is one of those rare occasions where both the passage of time and the very fact his movie came to its mantel of quality thrice removed have not only enriched its purpose and style, but systematically eclipsed its sour…

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