FILM 1637: GASLIGHT
The first time Ingrid Bergman met Charles Boyer was the day they shot the scene where they meet at a train station and kiss passionately. Boyer was the same height as Bergman, and in order for him to seem taller, he had to stand on a box, which she kept inadvertently kicking as she ran into the scene. Boyer also wore shoes and boots with 2-inch heels throughout the movie.
Angela Lansbury was only 17 when she made this, her film debut. She had been working at Bullocks Department Store in Los Angeles and when she told her boss that she was leaving, he offered to match the pay at her new job. Expecting it to be in the region of her Bullocks salary of the equivalent of $27 a week, he was somewhat taken aback when she told him she would be earning $500 a week.
The sets are deliberately overfilled with bric-a-brac to emphasize Paula's increasing sense of claustrophobia.
The scene in which Angela Lansbury lights a cigarette in contradiction of Ingrid Bergman's wishes had to be postponed until toward the end of production. Lansbury was only seventeen when filming began and because she was a minor she had to be monitored by a social worker. The social worker refused to allow Lansbury to smoke while she was a minor, so the scene had to be postponed until her eighteenth birthday. When Lansbury walked on set on her birthday, Bergman and the crew had organized a party for her, and the cigarette scene was shot immediately after they celebrated her birthday.
Barbara Stanwyck was among those who Ingrid Bergman beat out for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Prior to the awards ceremony Stanwyck had been the rumored favorite to win the award for her performance in Double Indemnity (1944), and Bergman's victory had been considered a mild surprise. Stanwyck was gracious in defeat, however. She told the press that she was "a member of the Ingrid Bergman Fan Club." She concluded by saying that she didn't "feel at all bad about the Award because my favorite actress won it and has earned it by all her performances."
The very distinctive brass bed (with a swan's-neck design) that is in Ingrid Bergman's hotel room near the beginning of the film was also prominently featured in Judy Garland's bedroom in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).
Named for this film, gaslighting is actually a recognized form of antisocial behavior. It involves an exploitative person manipulating people who suspect him or her, into questioning their own perceptions so that they distrust their own suspicions of the manipulator.
Director George Cukor asked producers to hire Paul Huldschinsky to help design the film's intricate Victorian sets. Huldschinsky was a German refugee who had fled his native country because of the war. He had been well-acquainted with upper-class European decor, because his family had accumulated wealth through their newspaper business and his wife was the heiress of a German railroad fortune. Huldschinsky had lost much of his material wealth when he fled to the United States, however had retained his eye for period decoration. He was working on rather routine, uncredited set dressings when Cukor tagged him for work on this film. The film's producers pushed for a more well-known and established set designer, but Cukor stuck with Huldschinsky. The gamble paid off as Huldschinsky's set designs won an Academy Award.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.