Gaslight, from 1944, stars Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten & a young Angela Lansbury, making her film debut. The movie was nominated for seven Oscars and won two: Best Actress for Ingrid Bergman and Best Art Direction.
Ingrid Bergman researched her role by studying women inmental institutions who had suffered nervous breakdowns. The thing she noticed most were the patients’ eyes, so notice how animated and agitated her eyes are during the film.
One of the script writers, John Balderston, worked as a foreign correspondent and actually covered the opening of the tomb of King Tut in 1922.
That served as his inspiration when he later wrote the screenplay for a classic horror film with Boris Karloff...the original The Mummy.
He also wrote the original screenplays of Dracula and Frankenstein.
The director, George Cukor, took dancing lessons as a child and at the age of 7, performed in a recital with a boy named David, who became a good friend.
Years later, when Cukor had become a Hollywood director, he was picked to direct Gone with the Wind. But, because of constant arguments with the film’s producer, he was replaced.
That producer was none other than his old dance recital partner, David O. Selznick. He and Selznick did remain life-long friends.
During his senior year in high school, he worked as a actor with the Metropolitan Opera, earning 50¢ per appearance, and he got $1 perappearance if he was required to perform in blackface.
Cukor went on to direct classics like The Philadelphia Story, Adam's Rib, Born Yesterday, A Star Is Born and My Fair Lady, for which he won his only Oscar.
It was an open secret in Hollywood that Cukor was gay and the unofficial head of Hollywood's gay subculture. He was a celebrated partier,whose luxurious home was the site of weekly Sunday afternoon parties attended by closeted celebrities.
Charles Boyer, playing Gregory Anton in the film, grew up in France and was one of the most popular actors in Europe. In 1938, he landed his most famous role as Pepe le Moko, in the film Algiers.
Boyer was several inches shorter than Bergman and, during their close-ups in this film, he stood on a box to appear taller.
Married to his wife for 44 years, when she died of cancer in1978, he was so distraught over her death that he committed suicide 2 days later. Boyer received 4 Oscar nominations, including one for this performance, but never won.
His role in Algiers was the inspiration for a famous French cartoon character. Do you know who?....Pepe le Pew, the romantic skunk of Looney Tunes fame.
Dame May Whitty, playing the neighborhood busybody, Miss Thwaites, first stepped on the stage in 1881, at the age of 16. During her career, she received 2 Oscar nominations and was nicknamed 'Old Faithful' because she almost never missed a performance.
The snooty young maid, Nancy, is played by a young Angela Lansbury, who turned 18 during filming. She was working at a department store in Los Angeles when she got this, her very first film role.
When she told her boss at the department store that she was leaving, he offered to match her pay at the new job, expecting it to be around the same amount he was paying her, $27 a week.
Imagine his shock when she told him that she would be earning $500 a week.
Lansbury is probably best known for her role as detective Jessica Fletcher on the TV series Murder, She Wrote, which ran from 1984 to1996. Respected for her versatility, Lansbury has won five Tony Awards, six Golden Globes, and has been nominated for the three Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress.
And she holds the record for the most Emmy nominations without a win, 18.
Joseph Cotten plays police detective Brian Cameron. He was an original member of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater Players and performed in the controversial radio broadcast of War of the Worlds.
He made his major movie debut in Citizen Kane and his other memorable role was playing opposite Orson Welles as Holly Martin in The Third Man.
The girl playing the teenaged Paula is Terry Moore, who made her film debut at age 11 and had roles in almost 100 movies & TV shows. Appearing in mostly B-movies, one of her most famous roles was as the girl with a pet gorilla in 1949’s Mighty Joe Young.
In 1952, she received an Oscar nomination for her performance in Come Back, Little Sheba.
And in 1953, she starred with Robert Wagner in Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, filmed in Key West, Florida.
In the 1970s, she was in the news a lot claiming that she was the secret wife of late billionaire Howard Hughes. Despite having no proof that she and Hughes were ever married, and the fact that she had married two other men while still "married" to Hughes, his estate paid her an undisclosed settlement in 1984.
That same year, at age 55, Moore posed nude in the August issue of Playboy. She said that her nude pictorial was a "revenge thing" against those who think women are washed up at 30.
She refused to pose nude again at age 65, saying that she had proven her point. But she does have her own website where you can buy her autographed Playboy photos and others.
And, at age 81, she still takes acting classes twice a week.
One last thing – this entire film, even the outdoor scenes,was shot on sound stages, a perfect example of Hollywood movie magic.