Gaslight: Has Anyone Tried to Make You Crazy Lately?


We were eating lunch in the staff room and one of us was quite frazzled because she could not find her keys that morning.  We all were sympathetic, giving advice, telling our own stories of keys lost and found, when one person said, “Your dog is probably Gaslighting you!”

Ha!  I get that reference!  Do you?

Gaslight (1944) is a suspenseful movie in which Charles Boyer slowly and systematically causes his wife Ingrid Bergman to believe she is loosing her mind.  He keeps her isolated from neighbors and old family friends, and takes jewelry from her hand bag but makes her think she took it without remembering.

Click here for an excellent current review of this classic movie.

I watched this movie with my teenaged daughters.  I hope that, if the situation arises, they will recognize signs of a controlling person before becoming attached to them.

Charles Boyer uses his proclaimed love for Ingrid Bergman to keep her from seeing other people.  He wants to extend the honeymoon by not hosting parties, as she wants.  He says he is concerned about her memory loss and doesn’t want noisy neighbors to cause embarrassment for her.  Actually, he wants total control over her, not because he loves her, but because he has a reason to drive her insane and put her in an institution.

Ingrid Bergman is gorgeous, and it is difficult to see her try to assert herself, just to be humiliated by her “loving” husband in front of the servants.  Fortunately, she does have someone who wants to help her, and when things seem at their worst, she has a way out by accepting help from others.

A good lesson to remember.


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